Military Welcomes Macron To UK For Anniversary Of De Gaulle Broadcast

The Armed Forces helped to welcome French President Emmanuel Macron to the UK for the 80th anniversary of Charles de Gaulle's famous Second World War broadcast.

He was greeted by the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall at Clarence House on Thursday, and a flypast over London was performed by the Red Arrows.

Mr Macron's visit marked General de Gaulle's rallying cry to the people of France in June 1940.

During the Second World War speech, broadcast from the BBC in London, he urged French citizens to stand up and fight against the Nazi occupation.

Soldiers from Number 7 Company Coldstream Guards gave the VIPs a ceremonial guard of honour.

They were also joined by the Band of the Coldstream Guards - who all stood at least two metres apart.

After the national anthems of France and the UK were played, Guard Commander, Major Piers Gambarini, invited Mr Macron to inspect the servicemen.

He was accompanied by Prince Charles and the pair had to shelter under umbrellas amid heavy rainfall.

Later, Mr Macron met Boris Johnson at Downing Street, where the pair discussed issues which included the coronavirus economic recovery.

The Red Arrows perform a flypast over London to mark the anniversary (Picture: Red Arrows/Twitter).
The Red Arrows perform a flypast over London to mark the anniversary (Picture: Red Arrows/Twitter).

A Downing Street spokeswoman said: “The leaders began by reflecting on the sacrifice made by the British and French people in the Second World War and on the enduring strength of the UK-France relationship.

“They highlighted the modern-day successes of this friendship including the political and defence cooperation enshrined in the Lancaster House Agreement 10 years ago."

Number 10 also said the post-Brexit trade talks also came up during discussions between the two leaders, as well as the situation in Libya and Hong Kong.

Observing social distancing at Horse Guards Parade, the two leaders also watched a flypast of the Red Arrows and their French equivalent, La Patrouille de France, to mark the anniversary of General de Gaulle's Appel.

The two aerobatic display teams had earlier performed a flypast over Paris.

During the Second World War, General de Gaulle and the Free French made their wartime base in nearby Carlton Gardens and from the building began to build up their forces.

London’s support for the exiled French has been recognised by Mr Macron in awarding the capital France’s highest decoration – the Legion d’Honneur.

Meanwhile, Mr Johnson has said four surviving French resistance fighters – Edgard Tupet-Thome, 100, Daniel Bouyjou-Cordier, 99, Hubert Germain, 99, and Pierre Simonet, 98 – will receive honourary MBEs in tribute to their “courage and sacrifice in defending us and the whole world from fascism".

The awards will be presented at a ceremony in France in the coming months.

Cover image: The Prince of Wales and Mr Macron inspect soldiers at Clarence House (Picture: PA).