Today, The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall joined The President of the French Republic to celebrate the 80th anniversary of General de Gaulle’s ‘Appel’ to the French population to resist the German occupation of France during WWII in 1940.
On 18 June 1940, General Charles de Gaulle gave his speech from the BBC Broadcasting House in London to France as the French government prepared to sign an armistice with the Nazi invaders. The message offered hope in a time of despair and is today considered the founding text of the French Resistance.
The President was formally received by Their Royal Highnesses at Clarence House before a wreath laying at the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Memorial.
Following this, Their Royal Highnesses walked with The President to a ceremony at Carlton Gardens, where General de Gaulle’s ‘Appel’ was read by Major Johanna Maljette and His Royal Highness and The President lay wreaths at the Statue of General de Gaulle.
London has been presented with the Légion d’Honneur – France’s highest distinction – for services in World War 2. The city provided a base for Charles de Gaulle, when he was exiled there during the war.
On accepting the award, His Royal Highness spoke in French:
C’est avec une immense fierté et un grand plaisir que j’accepte de recevoir la Légion d’Honneur au nom de la Ville de Londres, au nom du Royaume-Uni et au nom de tous ceux qui se sont battus pour la liberté aux cotés de la France.
Translated into English: "It gives me the utmost pleasure and pride to accept the Légion d’honneur on behalf of this city and this country, and on behalf of all those who struggled for liberty in common cause with France."
Read HRH's speech in full here.