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Charles helps salute D-Day warriors at emotional 65th anniversary service

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Sixty-five years after Allied troops began the final push to end World War II, their bravery was remembered by the current generation of leaders and royalty in Normandy
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 Photo: © PA

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Two of the most high-profile first ladies on the world stage were at the poignant occasion
 Photo: © PA

08 JUNE 2009

World leaders, royalty and veterans gathered near the beaches of Normandy this weekend to remember the courage of those who saved Europe in its darkest hour through their heroic sacrifice during the D-Day landings 65 years ago.

Despite the invitation issues which took place beforehand, Prince Charles was there with Gordon Brown, to represent Britain. They joined Barack Obama and French President Nicolas Sarkozy at the remembrance service at a Colleville-sur-Mer cemetery where 9,000 US servicemen were laid to rest.

Also listening as national anthems, including God Save The Queen, rang out over the sombre scene and a 21-gun salute sounded were the leaders' wives, Sarah Brown, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy and Michelle Obama.

Former model Carla cleverly stuck to her trademark formula of mirroring her guests' outfits by wearing a cream number very similar to that worn by the elegant US First Lady.

Hollywood star Tom Hanks, who appeared in the film Saving Private Ryan, which dramatised the landings, also attended.

Paying his respects to the thousands of allied troops who died during the invasion, Gordon Brown said: "The men we are celebrating today, and commemorating those dead, are the people who not only liberated Europe but made possible the freedoms we all enjoy today.

The Prince of Wales was the first to lay a wreath. His circle of poppies with white carnations forming a fleur de lys - the Prince's emblem - bore the message: "In grateful and everlasting memory - Charles."

Earlier in the day at a service in Bayeux Cathedral dedicated to British D-Day heroes, the heir to the throne was greeted with claps and cheers at by former UK servicemen eager to show their delight at his presence after an 11th-hour invitation was issued by the French government.

Their feelings were summed up by Peter Lennard, a troop commander on D-Day, who said it had been "lovely" to meet Charles. The doughty 92-year-old uses a mobility scooter but stood to shake hands with the royal.

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