LONDON (Reuters) – Prince Charles and his wife Camilla will welcome French President Emmanuel Macron next Thursday to mark the 80th anniversary of Charles de Gaulle’s radio appeal to his countrymen to resist Nazi occupation.
The celebrations will offer a boost to ties between Britain and France at a time when talks with the European Union about a future relationship after a status quo Brexit transition period have all but stalled.
In a statement from Clarence House, Charles and Camilla will formally receive Macron at their residence “with a Guard of Honour formed by Number 7 Company Coldstream Guards accompanied by the Band of the Coldstream Guards”.
De Gaulle’s radio appeal, broadcast by the BBC on June 18, 1940, was the founding act of the French Resistance to Nazi occupation during World War Two, although few people heard it at the time and no recording of it has survived.
However, the full text is preserved on a bronze plaque set into the ground near the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier below the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.
Horrified by the collapse of the French army as German forces swept through France and by the defeatist attitude of the government, De Gaulle left for London, determined to continue the struggle.
In his radio appeal, he argued that, even though mainland France was mostly under German occupation, French soldiers could continue the war using the country’s colonies as a base or by joining forces with the British.
(Reporting by Elizabeth Piper; editing by Stephen Addison)