The Prince of Wales will travel to the Netherlands in September to attend commemorations for the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Arnhem, a major battle in the Second World War.
Clarence House announced the news on Friday afternoon and noted that Prince Charles will be joined by Princess Beatrix for the events on 21 September.
Prince Charles and Princess Beatrix will begin their day in Ginkel Heath near Ede, where they will attend a commemorative service along with a wreath-laying ceremony.
The service, Clarence House notes, will be “attended by veterans and followed by a mass parachute drop of airborne troops, including soldiers from The Parachute Regiment, of which The Prince of Wales is Colonel-in-Chief.”
Prince Charles will also attend events to recognise the contributions of “those involved in Operation Market Garden, the codename for events that took place in Arnhem in 1944.”
Operation Market Garden was the largest airborne operation in history that saw “more than 35,000 American and British forces dropped behind enemy lines by parachute and gliders,” according to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website.
The Operation unfortunately failed, and Arnhem was not liberated at the time. It became known as “a bridge too far” and of the 10,600 servicemen who fought in the battle, only 2,400 lived. Over 1,500 servicemen were killed and the rest were either wounded or captured. Ultimately, the Netherlands wasn’t liberated until the following spring, in 1945, when the Allies crossed the Rhine and defeated the Nazis.
As the calendar begins moving towards 2020, the Dutch Royal Family will begin undertaking more military and commemorative engagements to celebrate the end of the Second World War and the liberation of the Netherlands in 1945.
More details about Prince Charles’s visit will be announced in the coming weeks. Clarence House noted that the Prince of Wales has previously attended commemorative events for the Battle of Arnhem, most recently in 2004, to mark the 60th anniversary.
Prince Charles was last in the Netherlands in April 2013, to mark the Investiture of King Willem-Alexander.