Prince Harry and Meghan share touching tribute to D-Day veterans

Author
news.com.au,
Section
Lifestyle,
Publish Date
Saturday, 8 June 2019, 4:09PM
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have shared a touching tribute to war veterans in honour of the 75th anniversary of D-Day.  Photo / Getty Images
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have shared a touching tribute to war veterans in honour of the 75th anniversary of D-Day. Photo / Getty Images

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have shared a touching tribute to D-Day veterans in honour of the 75th anniversary of the World War II milestone.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex said it was "especially poignant" for Harry who served in the British Army for a decade and spent the day at Royal Chelsea Hospital inspecting the Founder's Day parade and visiting six veterans inside the facility who were involved in the Normandy Landings in 1944.

In the message posted to their official @sussexroyal Instagram account, the couple thanked the veterans for their service and sacrifices.

View this post on Instagram

Today The Duke of Sussex visited the Royal Hospital Chelsea for the Founder’s Day Parade, an annual event celebrating the founding of the veterans hospital in 1681 by King Charles II. The Founder’s Day Parade is a day to celebrate ‘The Chelsea Pensioners’, the name for those veterans who live there, and an important reminder of the great debt we owe all whom have served their nation. More than 300 years on from its founding, @royalhospitalchelsea continues to provide exceptional care to soldiers in retirement. Today’s visit also coincides with the 75th anniversary of D-Day. It was especially poignant for The Duke, who served in the British Army for ten years, to visit with and honour six veterans of the Normandy Landing living at the hospital. In his speech today His Royal Highness shared these words with the Chelsea Pensioners: Don’t ever underestimate the joy that you bring to everyone you meet. You represent something really quite special, you are special, and society will always recognise that. That is an important part of your legacy....It’s a community that focuses on supporting each other with kindness, respect and compassion, as well as reaching out to serve the wider community....On this 75th Anniversary of D-Day, I can comfortably speak for everyone when I say we are honoured to be in the presence of six Normandy Landing veterans. Over 300 British Army Veterans live @royalhospitalchelsea - veterans who fought in the Second World War, and other conflicts including Korea, Malaya, Borneo, Northern Ireland, South Atlantic and the first Gulf War. Her Majesty The Queen, The Prince of Wales, The Duke of Cambridge and other members of The Royal Family have joined events in the UK and France to commemorate the 75th anniversary of D-Day. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are proud to support serving and former members of the Armed Forces. Positive communities and the @royalhospitalchelsea model of care, is critical to help veterans both young and old to maintain positive mental health and wellbeing. Thank you for your service, and for the sacrifices you and your families have made. #DDay75

A post shared by The Duke and Duchess of Sussex (@sussexroyal) on Jun 6, 2019 at 5:21am PDT

Prince Harry — dressed in his Blues and Royals frock coat — praised their "special" legacy during a speech outside the hospital, news.com.au reports.

"Don't ever underestimate the joy that you bring to everyone you meet. You represent something really quite special, you are special, and society will always recognise that," he said.

"That is an important part of your legacy … It's a community that focuses on supporting each other with kindness, respect and compassion, as well as reaching out to serve the wider community."

Speaking to the elderly veterans inside the hospital, the Duke of Sussex injected some humour into the otherwise sombre occasion.

"Both your founder King Charles II and Sir Christopher Wren himself would be delighted to know that the institution which opened its doors to the first Pensioners over 325 years ago continues to fulfil its original purpose of giving exceptional care to soldiers in retirement," Prince Harry said.

"They'd also be amused to hear about the late-night cricket in the hallways! Much less the serenading by Colin who I am told is Royal Variety standard, but let's assume they haven't seen your synchronised buggy drill quite yet.

"Now I stand here before you to not only acknowledge the incredible contribution you have made to this nation but to acknowledge that you, my friends, are also seriously good fun to be around."

The new dad attracted plenty of laughs during his visit, joking around with the elderly servicemen and women and asking them to pick their "favourite" hospital staff member.

Harry also got a laugh out of 90-year-old veteran Frank Swift who had just told the royal visitor that he "can't walk."

"But you've got a comfy chair!" Harry quipped back.

Meanwhile, his brother Prince William delivered the D-Day address made by his great-grandfather King George VI in 1944 during a commemoration service at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire.

"Four years ago our nation and empire stood alone against an overwhelming enemy, with our backs to the wall," he said.

"Now once more a supreme test has to be faced. This time the challenge is not to fight to survive but to fight to win the final victory for the good cause.

"At this historic moment surely not one of us is too busy, too young, or too old to play a part in a nationwide, perchance a worldwide vigil of prayer as the great crusade sets forth."

His wife Kate Middleton was conspicuously absent from the event, instead attending the Beating Retreat military pageant in Whitehall in London.

The Duchess of Cambridge took the salute, a role traditionally undertaken by the Queen or another member of the royal family.

She exuded simple elegance in a cream Catherine Walker coat during the army event, which has taken place every year since 1966 and raises money for service charities.

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