Friday 20 June 2014

Introduction to the Queen's Visit to France for D-Day commemorations - part 1

This post will introduce you to the some of the schedule relevant to Her Majesty, the Queen’s State Visit to France … before the exceptionally long A-Z post on D-Day which will follow …
Unveiling the plaque at St Pancras International

Royal State Visit to France … 5th to 7th June 2014

Our Queen is deeply admired in France.  She represents the permanence of an eternal Britain in an ancestral rivalry in which mutual admiration has always matched enmity.

Before she had even left London she was unveiling a 20th anniversary plaque celebrating the opening of the Channel Tunnel and the launch of high speed rail services between the UK and mainland Europe.

Eurostar comfort

She then travelled on EuroStar to Paris when she was given a ceremonial welcome at the Arc de Triomphe and a drive down the Champs Elysees with the French President …

… later she attended one of those Garden Parties I have mentioned … they evolved from the presentation parties for the debutantes, but are now a way of rewarding and recognising public service, and are by invitation only to people from all walks of life.  There are at least three in Buckingham Palace, one in Edinburgh and often others – such as here at the British ambassador’s residence.

The Queen being welcomed in Paris
La Reine d’Angleterre” … the Queen was on her 5th Royal visit to France, which included the Commemorative Anniversary of D-Day and the rapprochement … the French have with the British for their freedom in 1944.

For France, the Queen’s attire and demeanour reflect the exotic otherness of a realm that contrasts with its turbulent succession of kings, dictators and presidents.  ‘Sa majeste’ is revered by the older generations as a witness to French and European history.

Her first visit was in 1948, as Princess, when France was picking itself up from wartime occupation.  In French eyes she is the symbol of the suffering of the British under Hitler’s bombing and their resistance and courage.

She speaks perfect French – another exemplar – and was paid the ultimate compliment by the people of Paris when a flower market was named in her honour to reflect the “enormous affection” in which she is held by the French.

"Un bain de foule ..."
The unlikely cry of “Long Live the Queen!” reverberated around the 200 year old flower market on the Ile de la Cite, which was renamed Marche Aux Fleurs Reine Elizabeth II in her honour.

She then took “un bain de foule”  any ideas?  Crowd bath … as a walkabout is known in French!!   Funny language ….?

Ile de la Cite seen from the west, downstream

Part 2:     5th and 6th June 2014

The Royals’ itinerary for the D-Day 70th anniversary Commemoration events in Normandy …

The annual midnight vigil on Pegasus Bridge – for those 12.16 am glider landings seventy years ago … at the start of D-Day – a tradition started after the war – was maintained once again: Café Gondree was the first building to be taken in the offensive.

Pegasus Bridge - with one of the
Horsa gliders in the background
9th June 1944 (D-Day + 3)
Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, paid a visit to Pegasus Bridge and met survivors of the Glider Pilot Regiment, together with other Canadian regimental survivors.

Bayeux Cathedral, where the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall joined 400 Commonwealth veterans for the Royal British Legion Service of Remembrance.  

Bayeux was the first town to be liberated during the invasion … the former home of the Bayeux tapestry.

The service ended with a blessing for the cathedral’s Bell for Peace and Freedom, which was commissioned by the diocese for the 70th anniversary commemorations.
Bayeux Cathedral:
Bell for Peace and Freedom

The Queen, the Duke, Prince Charles and the Duchess attended the Service of Remembrance at the Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery at Bayeux and met veterans.

The staircase at Benouville Chateau

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh attended a lunch for Heads of State and Government given by President Hollande, at the Chateau de Benouville.

After lunch all the dignitaries attended the Commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the Normandy Landings at Sword Beach (Ouistreham).

The French were keen to arrange the D-Day commemorative events around the Queen's attendance ... so the British Sword Beach was chosen by President Hollande for the 'spectacle'  (show) which was enacted here.

This had been a British beach.  And, as by far the longest-serving head of state present, the Queen had the honour of arriving last.
Lord Lovat's Piper piping the British ashore -
Lord Lovat is wading ashore just in front.

It was hot ... and the 7,000 guests sat baking in the 26 degree C heat (hot for around here!) ... the veterans were certainly suffering as the minutes ticked on ... and on ... and on ... 

The world leaders ended up spending an extra hour over lunch.  Later we learnt that Presidents Putin (Russia) and Porochenko (Ukraine) had been having a meeting ... in theory to resolve the Ukrainian crisis ... 

Canadian Troops landing at Juno Beach
There was warm applause for Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor ...

... everyone was studiously avoiding President Putin ... 

The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall attended a Ceremony of Remembrance at Juno Beach to commemorate Canada’s role in the Normandy Landings.

Elysee Palace Cuisine
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge attended a veterans’ tea party in the town of Arromanches.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge went on to attend the Commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the Normandy Landings at Gold Beach (Arromanches).

The Queen returned to Paris to be guest of honour at an Elysee Palace banquet ... 

The A-Z post on D-day is following … it is long!!

Hilary Melton-Butcher

Positive Letters Inspirational Stories


Optimistic Existentialist said...

Hilary you should write a book someday. I always learn so much from your posts. I love reading about British royalty because we don't have anything like it over here. But if we did, I would vie for the king's throne!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

They certainly treat her right and with honor. Cool she has a flower market named after her.

Julie Flanders said...

Loved the story about the flower market. Very touching.
Looking forward to your D-Day post!

quietspirit said...

Hilary: I didn't realize your queen spoke french. Was the renaming of the flower market permanent or just for that visit?

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

She is so busy for her age. Actually, she's so busy for *any* age!

Crowd bath--ha! I bet it must feel that way to the poor Queen...surrounded by people as she is.

Didn't realize she was fluent in French--I know they must appreciate that. I got funny looks when I spoke French in France. :) My accent must not have been up to par...ha!

Lovely post, as always.

J E Oneil said...

The Queen of England receives a warm welcome in France. In some periods of history, that would be quite shocking :).

France is so beautiful. I hope to visit there someday.

Janie Junebug said...

I had no idea the Queen speaks French. Does she say the last letters of French words, as most British people seem to do? It's something I've never understood. I've seen footage of the Garden Parties. I didn't remember that they evolved from the presentation of debutantes. Is there still such a thing as debutantes and coming out parties? Oh, my. I just realized that "coming out party" could mean something very different.


D.G. Hudson said...

This is highly interesting to me as a resident of a Commonwealth country. I didn't know she was so well liked in France. But I know the French have excellent taste in everything else.

I know exactly where that flower market is;we stopped in to look around as we were staying in that area, renting an apartment. It is a lovely place.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Keith - thanks for the thumbs up ... the books will be coming this year. Thankfully I can glean most of the information fairly easily ..

@ Alex - yes the Queen is highly respected and she was delighted to have the market named after her ..

@ Julie - very touching .. a good phrase and I bet the scents were wonderful as she walked around .. and thanks re the D-Day post .. it's mostly written

@ Cecilia - the flower market is permanently named for her .. and I knew she spoke French, but it was interesting to know it's so fluent ..

@ Elizabeth - well I certainly feel tired writing about their visits and how much they do .. so, like you, she sets a goodly pace ..

I liked that turn of phrase for the walkabout .. un bain de foule - just lovely to say!

I expect she learnt during the War ... but she is amazing and didn't need an interpreter ...

@ Jeanne - yes the incongruousness of accepting an English queen by the French does seem almost shocking doesn't it ..

I hope you get a chance to get over to see France and perhaps the UK too?!

@ Janie - French she does speak .. I have heard her talk a phrase or two and as she's fluent ... I'm sure speaks proper French!

Speaking another language is not easy .. and having tried many times with various tongues .. French, Italian, German, Afrikaans .. I'm certain I say things completely wrong ...

Garden parties are now acknowledgements for good deeds done or recognition of time in service ... the debutante era has long gone, the last year was 1958. And yes if you want to go that route "coming out party" could be something different .. but not at with the Queen in attendance.

@ DG - I hadn't realised either that the Queen was held in such high esteem ... and usually the French have great taste on that I agree ..

I remember your trip to Paris and the posts you wrote about your visit .. showed me lots! I imagine seeing the flower market must be so enticing ..

Thanks everyone and I'm so pleased you're interested .. wonderful summer solstice morning ... looks to be a glorious day .. cheers Hilary

Gattina said...

The Queen is amazing ! She still looks so good at her age and how fit she is ! She speaks an excellent French with nearly no accent. But the French TV didn't talk very much about her visit. I just saw some bits in the News.

Patsy said...

Very interesting post as always, Hilary.

We're off to France in a few weeks. I plan to be taking it a lot easier than the Queen did!

Patsy said...

btw, you might be interested in this 360 image of Gold Beach at Arromanche,-3.30,70.0

Nick Wilford said...

She certainly packed a lot in and that's admirable for a woman her age. Nice to see she is so well liked in France and as always I'll take something away from your post: "bain de foule" which I'd never heard even though I've studied French to degree level! Great phrase!

janice h said...

Hi Hilary,
You should be invited to one of the Garden Parties for everything you do to share your heritage and love of the UK with folk all over the world! I'm not much of a royalist, but do really admire the Queen for her consummate professionalism and her astonishing hard work! Thank you too, for a wee coffee break in Paris!

You know how I've told you in the past that one or two random things always stand out for me in your posts? This time it was the queen blethering in French, and the image of Putin being pointedly snubbed. Understandably, but I wish someone would acknowledge the 8-9 million Soviet Union military deaths and 16 million civilian deaths in the 2nd world war, given that they were our allies in the latter half of the war. People, just like us.

I love that your posts get me thinking, keep me learning - I had to refer to a huge history tome with stats pages to get exact figures.

Jo said...

I didn't know she was fluent in French, they would be pleased. Especially after the attitude displayed by so many British visitors over the years. Un bain de foule is a lovely phrase, not heard it before.

I was virtually bilingual once, but it's got rusty over the years, I am presently brushing up my Spanish.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Gattina - she does look good for her age doesn't she and I expect the French TV were tied up with D-Day programmes .. I'm glad you can confirm she speaks impeccable French - thank you!

@ Patsy - well taking it easier than the Queen does seems an eminently sensible suggestion .. and have fun in France - it's gorgeous over there ..

Thanks too for the 360 degree image of Gold Beach at Arromanche .. I'll use it tomorrow - cheers!

@ Nick - she's been packing royal attendances ever since - she's been at Ascot all week ..

Isn't it good that the Queen is admired in France .. and I'm so pleased you enjoyed the "bain" phrase .. fun isn't it ..

@ Janice - gosh .. thank you - but I think I pale into comparison of many - still it's great readers enjoy seeing the posts - for that I'm very grateful.

I try and add the 'oddities' in - makes it fun for me, and then for you too ..

Re Russia - I've put those figures in tomorrow's post - the long A-Z .. the bit about the +/- 22 million Russians killed .. I almost included it here .. so I'm glad you've highlighted it for me though .. we do need to remember all their deaths .. and the sacrifices they had to go through ..

I'm glad you go off and look things up .. I spend my life constantly doing that!!

@ Jo - she must have learnt it pre-War or during the war .. and perfected the language apparently ... isn't the 'un bain de foule' a lovely phrase ..

I've never been bilingual - and am hopeless .. I spatter in French, Italian, tiny Germany and Afrikaans ... yet some things stick ...

Thanks to you all and for the interesting comments - great to have those .. cheers Hilary

T. Powell Coltrin said...

I love the Queen from here in America! Would love to see her in person. The whole royal family thing is intriguing and very cool.

Your posts are incredibly informational. Thank you so much for that.

Dianne K. Salerni said...

Queen Elizabeth is an amazing person and it's wonderful to see her so active in her later years. I didn't know she was so fluent i French ~ and is she still as fluent today? Does she practice it often?

I received the French award in high school. But on a recent visit to Paris, I couldn't speak a word of it. Use it or lose it was certainly an apt expression as far as my head goes!

Rhonda Albom said...

Interesting as always. I had no idea the Queen spoke perfect French, although I am not surprised when I think about it. I hope I get to see her some day. I did get to see the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge when they were here in NZ.

Beate said...

Thank you for always sharing such amazing infos with us! I had no idea the Queen is so respected in France! And she speaks fluent French? That is amazing!
Have a wonderful Sunday, Hilary :)

Anonymous said...

Hi, Hilary. Your posts are always so interesting. I didn't know the queen spoke french or that there was a flower market named after her. I'm always learning something new when I stop by your blog.

Have a wonderful day!

Anonymous said...

She's still kicking, wow. Hoping to avoid handing over the throne to Charles, right?

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Teresa - I saw her years ago at one of the Garden Parties at Buckingham Palace .. other than that it's tv or the media .. but I'm happy with the Royal history and happy I gave you sufficient information ..

@ Dianne - the Queen is really incredible and yes an example to us all to stay active. I don't know how she practises .. but she must talk quite often in French, to be as fluent as she is .. perhaps reads a French paper - she is a very (very) good French speaker apparently ...

Oh don't talk about things we forget in school .. !! So can quite see your dilemma in Paris with your family! Use it or lose it - is so so true ..

@ Rhonda - the Queen certainly has lots of attributes .. and I hope you get to see her sometime - but I think you'll have to come over here .. I don't think she'll be travelling that much anymore ... though recently she's been to Italy and to France, and the Duke's been to Germany .. so they still get around ..

So pleased you joined the crowds to see the Duke and Duchess - that must have been fun ...

@ Beate - lovely to see you and so pleased you enjoyed knowing a little more about our Queen .. I found her visit very interesting - it's good to see people show respect for others ..

@ Susanne - the mayor of Paris decided to rename the 'old' market after the Queen - which is a lovely touch I thought .. especially in a Republican country! She didn't need any interpreters ..

@ Milo - the Queen is certainly fulfilling her duties, but is handing some of those over to Charles or sharing them - fate and nature will play that hand! the family seems to have longevity in their genes ..

Thanks to you all - glad this satisfied as a brief intro to my next mammoth post A-Z on D-Day .. cheers Hilary

Juliet said...

That bell is impressive. Lots of fascinating information, once more Hilary. Thank you. You are my British newspapers and TV all rolled into one!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Juliet - thanks for coming by, reading and commenting .. the bell does look amazing doesn't it ..

Glad my curating has given you an overview .. cheers Hilary