After furious diplomatic exchanges between the French and British governments, reports are emerging that Queen Elizabeth II — the only reigning monarch to have actively served in World War II — has finally been invited to commemorate the D-Day Landings in Normandy, France next week together with other heads of state, including Presidents Obama, Sarkozy and Prime Minister Brown.
The late and somewhat begrudging invitation by the French Government should be delivered by President Sarkozy himself, together with an apology for the incredible lapse in judgment by the Quai d’Orsay. After all, it was primarily an Anglo-American effort that led the 1944 push for France’s liberation, and the eventual defeat of Hitler’s Third Reich.
Although President Sarkozy is well known for his reluctance to share the limelight, the commemorations of the D-Day Landings should have been put above politics. During the celebration of NATO’s 60th anniversary at the Strasbourg-Kehl Summit in April, Sarkozy broke 60 years of diplomatic protocol and demanded to be sat next to the Secretary General during the televised parts of the ceremony (he took his alphabetically assigned seat during the private negotiations). To transfer this vanity to something as symbolically poignant as the commemoration of the D-Day Landings is unconscionable.
The Queen’s grandson, Prince Harry, will visit New York City today and pay respects at the site of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. A veteran of the war in Afghanistan, Prince Harry has followed in Her Majesty’s footsteps, and actively served his country during a time of War. It is a shame that the same can not be said for the very leaders who ‘forgot’ Her Majesty’s invitation to Normandy next week.