King and Queen lead D Day commemorations at Portsmouth service

King and Queen lead D-Day commemorations at Portsmouth service

The King, Queen and Prince of Wales along with the Prime Minister have led commemorations for the bravery of the D-Day soldiers at the national event for the 80th anniversary of the Normandy landings.

D-Day veterans, armed forces personnel and local schoolchildren were among the guests at the star-studded event held on Southsea Common in Portsmouth.

The Hampshire port city was a major staging post for the key Second World War battle, having been the base for the vessels and troops heading to Sword Beach, and nearby Southwick was the headquarters for Supreme Allied Commander General Dwight Eisenhower, who led the Operation Overlord planning.

The commemoration, which took place on a specially erected stage, was kicked off with a flypast by Dakota aircraft before host Dame Helen Mirren took to the stage to narrate a history of how D-Day unfolded and affected those who took part.

The event featured veterans reading dramatic accounts from the invasion as well as wartime songs performed by EastEnders star Emma Barton, American actress Marisha Wallace and Call The Midwife’s Helen George.

Music was also provided by the Royal Marines Drummers.

The King and Queen took to the stage for Charles to give a reading followed later in proceedings by Rishi Sunak.

Readings were also given by Jonny Weldon from The Outlaws and Kate Phillips from Peaky Blinders as well as Iain Glen from Game Of Thrones, Leonie Elliott, also from Call The Midwife, Anjli Mohindra from Bodyguard and Julian Ovenden from Downton Abbey.

The show concluded with a gun salute from the frigate HMS St Albans, which sailed past in the Solent, and a rendition of the national anthem before a flypast by the Red Arrows and Typhoon jets.

Charles, Camilla, William and Mr Sunak went on to meet the veterans at a private reception following the event.

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