The visit began with a tea party in the town of Arromanches near Gold Beach, the codename of the sector assigned to British Forces, where they built a harbour essential for receiving supplies and the disembarking of troops.
William and Kate had the honour of meeting around fifty veterans.
Kate sat down and said to them "You've got lots of stories to tell". Veteran Arthur Jones asked her "Is it ok to kiss a Princess" laughing, she replied: "Of course it is". Mr Jones described the Duchess as "very sweet, very lovely and down to earth".
After the tea party, the Duke and Duchess visited Musée de Débarquement (D-Day Museum) where they met a historian for a short historical briefing and viewed exhibits.The idea for the museum as a permanent exhibition on the Normandy Landings came from Raymond Triboulet, who was involved in the resistance movement in Normandy and became France's first local governor after the liberation.
Undoubtedly it was a memorable day for William and Kate.
The couple attended the commemoration of the Normandy Landings at Gold Beach.
They stood on the stage and watched a marching brass band followed by veterans being pushed in wheelchairs.
Kate singing a hymn.
Royal reporter Emily Andrews shared a photo of William and Kate's seats before the ceremony began.
|Emily Andrews Twitter Feed|
During his speech Prince William described D-Day as a "great and terrible day" and said:
'It is vital that this sacrifice, and the reasons for this sacrifice, are never forgotten.'
As we mentioned earlier in the post, a number of royals including The Queen, The Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Charles and The Duchess of Cornwall travelled to France to attend commemoration events, however, today marked one of those rare occasions where the royals were not the primary focus of attention. It was very much a day of remembrance and reflection, and most of all, a day for the veterans, to whom the royals had the opportunity to pay their respects.
D-Day, 6th of June 1944, was the beginning of the Allied invasion of Normandy during World War II. The largest seaborne assault in history, the operation began the invasion of German-occupied Western Europe and led to the restoration of the French Republic and contributed to an Allied victory in the war.
Nearly 160,000 troops crossed the English Channel on D-Day with nearly 5,000 landing and assault craft, 289 escort vessels and 277 minesweepers participating.
There were landings at five beaches Omaha, Utah, Juno, Sword and Gold beaches. Below we see U.S. Army troops wading ashore at Omaha on the morning of the landings.
Allied casualties on the day were reported as 10,000, with 2,500 dead.
|The British Monarchy Flickr|
This week, Charlie Wilson - a US veteran - returned to Normandy for the first time since D-Day.
|70e Normandie Facebook Page|
This moving poem was placed at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemetery in Bayeux, where 4,648 soldiers are buried, many from D-Day.
|The Royal British Legion Twitter Feed|
A veteran visiting the cemetery earlier this week asked a visitor to "never forget his mates" who lost their lives on D-Day.
|Andy Farrell Twitter Feed|
A powerful photo of world leaders in France for the 70th anniversary. It's interesting to see Her Majesty in the centre of the photo. I often mention this but she is a truly remarkable woman; her schedule over the past couple of days has been incredibly busy but she's handled it as she does everything - like a true professional. Indeed, she refused an interpreter for the state visit - of course, she speaks fluent French.
The Duchess always hits the right note with her sartorial choices for official engagements and today was no exception. Ensuring the focus remained on the veterans and not what she wore, Kate appropriately elected to repeat the cornflower blue Alexander McQueen belted coat she wore in Blenheim, New Zealand during the tour. It's interesting to note in Blenheim, Kate wore the garment to participate in a wreath laying ceremony at a war memorial.
Kate's coat is a bespoke version of the garment shown below. It is currently available at Net-A-Porter for €2,595. The striking powder blue coat features peplum overlay and a buckled belt. It has a pleated back, snap-fastening cuffs and is fully lined.
Kate wore her £295 black Sylvia Fletcher 'Salsa' fascinator which we first saw last June when she christened Royal Princess.
Kate carried her Mulberry Bayswater Clutch.
The Duchess wore black suede pumps and completed the look with her sapphire and diamond earrings.
Kate's hair looked very pretty too.
Videos and Links
- This ITV video shows footage from the tea party where William and Kate met with veterans.
- The ITN Source video featuring William and Kate's visit.
- Do read this ITV Story about a veteran who reportedly went missing from a care home and turned up in Normandy today.
It was an incredibly emotional day and a privilege to cover on this blog. We leave you with a photo of our two favourite royal couples from their Normandy visit.
|The British Monarchy/Splash News/With thanks to Victoria Arbiter|
We'll see Kate on Tuesday when she attends the launch of the America's Cup at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich.