Prince Charles yesterday laid a floral wreath in the French town of Villers-Bretonneux in tribute to Australian soldiers on Anzac Day, marking the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Villers-Bretonneux which saw thousands of Australian soldiers lose their lives.
Charles attended the memorial service in Villers-Bretonneux as part of the several Anzac Day events which were attended by members of the Royal Family on behalf of The Queen, with Prince William, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle representing the Royal Family at Anzac Day services in London.
The Battle of Villers-Bretonneux saw Australian soldiers fight alongside British troops in the night time attack which recaptured Villers-Bretonneux from the Germans in April 1918.
The commemorations coincide with Anzac Day, the Australian and New Zealand national day of remembrance for those who have served, died or suffered in war. The day takes place each year on the 25th April, also marking the anniversary of the First World War Gallipoli landings.
Speaking at the dawn service, Charles praised the courage of the troops who paid the ultimate price on the Western front a century ago.
Addressing the early service, he said: “The Australians who served on the Western Front were not professional soldiers. They were not conscripted but were volunteers from all walks of life, in uniform until the war ended or until death or wounds claimed them. Those who survived would return to rebuild their lives and forge their character into the great country they would help build.
“They would remember forever their many comrades, their fellow ‘diggers’, they left behind here and before in places like Gallipoli, and whose spirit will forever be part of Australia’s identity.”
“Today, as we mark a century since they gave their lives, let us resolve to continue to fulfil their trust so that every passing year will only add to the measure of their honour”, he concluded.
Charles was joined at this morning’s service by the Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and the French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe, alongside several ambassadors and descendants of those who fought in the battle.
Later Charles, along with the Australian and French Prime Minister attended a reception.
They also opened the Sir John Monash Centre museum, which is named after the Australian general responsible for taking back the town.
Upon his arrival home, Prince Charles will finally get to meet his new baby grandson either tomorrow or at the weekend.