NYT – Left Out of D-Day Events, Queen Elizabeth Is Fuming

The queen, who is 83, is the only living head of state who served in uniform during World War II. As Elizabeth Windsor, service number 230873, she volunteered as a subaltern in the Women’s Auxiliary Territorial Service, training as a driver and a mechanic. Eventually, she drove military trucks in support roles in England.

While serving, she met the supreme Allied commander for the D-Day landings, Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, and developed a fondness for him, according to several biographies. This prompted Queen Elizabeth, who was crowned in June 1953, to say in later years that he was the American president with whom she felt most at ease.

But on June 6, when Mr. Obama and Mr. Sarkozy attend commemorations at the iconic locations associated with the American D-Day assault — Utah Beach, the town of Ste.-Mère-Église, where the first United States paratroopers landed, and the American war cemetery at Colleville-sur-Mer — the highest-ranking British representative will be Prime Minister Gordon Brown. His main role will be at ceremonies at the town of Arromanches, near the beaches where British troops landed.

Apparently the French are blaming the Brown Government who are apparently sticking to a policy of only going “full-scale” (I guess full-scale is when they bring the Head of State out to look pretty and get people waving flags) on decade-long intervals, never mind that the 65th anniversary is likely to be the last one many of the veterans (remember them?) or perhaps even the Queen will get to go to. Really thoughtful.

Update: Ahh, the tabloids.

[Daily Mail -


More than 83,000 troops landed on the British and Canadian beaches on D-Day itself – around 62,000 Britons and 21,000 Canadians, along with almost 8,000 airborne soldiers.

That is a considerably larger force than the 73,000 American troops who landed in the US sector on D-Day.

But Sarkozy said it would be ”’very much a Franco-American occasion’ centred on Barack Obama’s visit to the U.S. invasion beaches – Utah and Omaha,” all about Obama. So maybe we can actually blame this ridiculous tendency for foreign leaders to fawn all over Obama? (Anyway, didn’t the Canadians (golly, 21,000 of them) get stuck with the really hard beach?)

Downing Street will be further embarrassed by the fact that the BBC is mounting extensive live coverage from the D-Day beaches, including a farewell march by the Normandy Veterans Association. Members have decided to close down the association later this year.

They will be greeted, not by the Queen, but by a junior defence minister and General Sir Richard Dannatt, Chief of the General Staff.