The Prince of Wales has paid tribute to the thousands of soldiers who lost their lives on D-Day in a special message, describing the new official memorial to them as ”long overdue”.
On the 77th anniversary of the D-Day Landings, Prince Charles spoke by video at the official opening of the British Normandy Memorial which overlooks one of the beaches where Operation Overlord began to unfold on June 6th 1944.
The memorial follows a many years of work, led by veterans, for a permanent commemoration site for British forces involved in the landings. In his message, the Prince of Wales, who is patron of the Normandy Memorial Trust, mentioned the poignancy of the site being formally opened at a time when those who worked to make it reality aren’t able to travel to see it. Prince Charles said ”I know just how much our incomparable Veterans had hoped to be in Normandy today to see their Memorial for themselves. Despite having to watch via satellite link, this in no way obscures the enormous regard, and admiration, in which we hold our veterans or diminishes our debt of gratitude to the more than 22,000 men and women whose names are now permanently inscribed in stone in this place of honour above Gold Beach.”
The memorial was officially opened on June 6th 2021 with the service broadcast live on the Royal British Legion website. Many veterans watched the ceremony at a socially distanced gathering at the National Arboretum in Staffordshire.
The memorial honours all those fighting under British command during Operation Overlord, which began with the D-Day landings. Over 160,000 Allied troops took part in the operation which was the largest seaborne invasion in recorded history.
The Prince of Wales paid tribute to those who were lost in the fighting, saying ‘I can only hope that this serves to commemorate all those whose lives were lost during the events of June 1944 and between D-Day and the liberation of Paris at the end of August 1944. May God bless our Veterans, the families and all those who paid the ultimate sacrifice as a result of the operations around D-Day and during the Battle of Normandy.”