LONDON – Britain’s Prince Charles will host French President Emmanuel Macron for a special celebration marking the 80th anniversary of Gen. Charles de Gaulle’s defiant appeal to the French people to resist the Nazis during World War II.
Charles and his wife, the Duchess of Cornwall, will receive Macron at his Clarence House home with a Guard of Honor formed by Number 7 Company of the Coldstream Guards and their band.
The event on Thursday commemorates De Gaulle’s “Apel’’ via a BBC broadcast to his countrymen on June 18, 1940, urging them to fight on. The speech is widely considered to be the moment that gave birth to the French Resistance.
“I, General de Gaulle, currently in London, call upon the officers and the French soldiers who are located in British territory or who might end up here, with their weapons or without their weapons ... to get in touch with me,” De Gaulle said. “Whatever happens, the flame of the French resistance must not be extinguished and will not be extinguished.”
The moment has huge significance for Macron. It is his first trip abroad since the lockdown of the country in the pandemic, and he is eager to associate his presidency with the wartime leader.
On May 17, as France was just starting to ease virus-related restrictions, Macron went to northern France at the site of a battle, lost to Nazi Germany in 1940, in which De Gaulle took part.
Macron then celebrated France's “spirit of resistance."
A visit to Colombey-les-deux-Eglises, the home of De Gaulle in eastern France, is also scheduled in November.
The year 2020 also marks the 130th anniversary of De Gaulle’s birth and 50 years after his death.
Sylvie Corbet reported from Paris.