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 call to his compatriots to oppose the Nazi occupation.
The celebrations will kick-start ties between Britain and France at a time when discussions with the European Union on a future relationship after a period of transition from the status quo to Brexit have stalled.
In a statement from Clarence House, Charles and Camilla will formally receive Macron at their residence “with an honor guard formed by the Number 7 Company Coldstream Guards accompanied by the band of Coldstream Guards”.
De Gaulle’s radio call, broadcast by the BBC on June 18, 1940, was the founding act of the French Resistance to the Nazi occupation during the Second World War, although few people heard it at the era and no record has survived.
However, the full text is kept on a bronze plaque placed in the ground near the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier under the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.
Horrified by the collapse of the French army while German forces were sweeping France and by the government’s defeatist attitude, De Gaulle left for London, determined to continue the fight.
In his radio call, he argued that, even if mainland France was mainly under German occupation, French soldiers could continue the war by using the country’s colonies as a base or by joining forces with the British.
Elizabeth Piper reports; edited by Stephen Addison
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