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Trip of H.S.H. the Prince to Normandy

H.S.H. Prince Albert II visited Normandy between Wednesday 5 and Friday 7 June 2019 to take part in the commemorations of the 75th anniversary of D-Day (6 June 1944).

He was accompanied by members of His Family including His father in law Mr Michael Wittstock and His cousin, Chris Le Vine, as well as various American friends. On Wednesday 5 June the Sovereign visited the Grand Bunker Museum at Ouistreham, which was a key element in the Atlantic Wall built for defence and observation by two million Germans between 1941 and 1944.

In the early evening, Prince Albert went to the Caen Memorial, a museum dedicated to the history of the twentieth century and the two world conflicts, where, along with His delegation, He saw the exhibition of the famous American painter and illustrator, Norman Rockwell, entitled "Rockwell, Roosevelt and The Four Freedoms".

To close the day, a dinner was given in His honour by Mr Joel Bruneau, Mayor of Caen, at the Town Hall which adjoins the Abbaye aux Hommes founded by William the Conqueror.

On Thursday 6 June, His Serene Highness went to Sainte-Mère-Eglise to a place known as "La Fiere" where Retired Colonel Keith Nightingale and the "Friends of American Veterans" recounted the bitter battle between paratroopers of the 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions with the German forces, 75 years ago.

Following this, Prince Albert visited the Airborne Museum at Sainte-Mère-Eglise and attended remembrance ceremonies dedicated to the airborne troops of Operation Overlord in the company of General Milley, Chief of Staff of the French Army and General Mingus, Commander of the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg.

A moving ecumenical religious service was also organised in the church of Sainte-Mère-Eglise in the presence of the American military and generals who were accompanied by the Chaplain of the 82nd and its choir.
Mr. Jean Quétier, the mayor of this small town, which became famous in the United States, later presented the Sovereign Prince with the city's medal and honorary membership of the Association of Friends of American Veterans presided over by Mr Maurice Renaud.

On Friday 7 June the Prince and His delegation went to the city of Saint-Lô and the France / United States Memorial Hospital, a hospital built in part by fundraisers from America, where He attended the unveiling of a plaque honouring Franco-American friendship and the laying of wreaths in honour of American veterans who came with their families.

The American, Monegasque and French national anthems rang out before US Air Force planes flew over the hospital.

In His speech, the Sovereign said that we should no longer speak of St. Lo like Samuel Beckett once did, calling a "capital of ruins" but as "a capital of reconstruction and even of innovation".
Saint-Lô was a martyr city of the second world war and 90% destroyed. In the 18th century Saint-Lô had become a stronghold of the House of Grimaldi thanks to the marriage between Jacques IV and Louise-Hippolyte.

Trip of H.S.H. the Prince to Normandy