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CHARLES: I AM GOING TO D-DAY FOR VETS; He steps in over Sarkozy row.

Byline: JASON BEATTIE

PRINCE Charles will attend the D-Day commemorations after telling the Queen it was important the Royal Family was there.

No royal had been invited to the 65th anniversary event in France on Saturday.

It was seen as a deliberate snub by French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who insisted it was a "Franco-American" affair.

But he was put under intense pressure to change his mind after US President Barack Obama, who is attending, insisted the Queen was represented.

Clarence House received an official invitation yesterday from the French Ambassador.

It was feared the furious Queen would still not attend. But Charles told her it was important at least one of the family made the trip.

A spokesman said: "The Prince of Wales will attend D-Day commemorations in Normandy on the invitation of President Sarkozy."

Charles will now join Mr Obama, Gordon Brown and the French President on the Normandy beaches. The Royal British Legion said it was delighted Charles is going.

A spokesman said: "This day is about the veterans and as many people that can be there to show their thanks, the better."

The commemorations have been beset by controversy. Critics suggested Mr Sarkozy wanted to hog the limelight - and all the photo opportunities - with Mr Obama.

In March, the Prime Minister said he too wanted to be part of the event, after hearing Mr Obama would be there.

Veterans were furious at the snub to the Queen, the only surviving head of state to have served in the war - she was a driver in the Auxiliary Territorial Service.

They were also told they would not get government help to make the pilgrimage as the 65th anniversary was not deemed "significant".

Veterans Minister Kevan Jones said money was only for landmarks of 25, 50, 60 and 100 years.

But veterans of the 1944 invasion pointed out this would be the last time many of them would be well enough to go.

The Big Lottery Fund has since stepped in to help with funding.

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VISIT Prince Charles SALUTE D-Day veterans meet in Woking yesterday
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Geographic Code:4EUFR
Date:Jun 3, 2009
Words:347
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