Prince William says Kate is feeling 'better' and 'would love to have been' at D-Day commemorations

Prince William says Kate is feeling 'better' and 'would love to have been' at D-Day commemorations

Prince William has said that the Princess of Wales is feeling ‘better’ at a D-Day commemoration event.

The Prince of Wales joined King Charles and Queen Camilla at the event in Portsmouth on Wednesday to mark 80 years since the Normandy landings.

William delivered a speech thanking veterans for their sacrifices and then met with members of the public - including a war hero who asked after his wife amid her ongoing cancer treatment.

In footage posted on X, the Prince is seen telling him: “She is better, thanks. She would've loved to be here today.”

He also said he had been speaking with women who worked at Bletchley Park as codebreakers along with Kate's grandmother Valerie Middleton.

The Prince, 41, added: “I was reminding everyone how her grandmother served at Bletchley so she had quite a bit in common with some of the ladies here.”

He told another woman: “My wife’s grandmother did the same sort of thing as you. Catherine only found out at the end of her life.”

Valerie Middleton and her twin sister Mary worked at Bletchley Park as part of the team of crack codebreakers.

They unlocked the secrets of German Enigma machine allowing allies to listen in on secret German messages about the country’s plans in the theatre of war.

 (PA Wire)
(PA Wire)

Kate previously paid tribute to her late grandmother and said how proud she was of her wartime contribution.

The Princess said in a forward for The GCHQ Puzzle Book: “They rarely talked about their wartime service, but we now know just how important the men and women of Bletchley Park were, as they tackled some of the hardest problems facing the country.

“In a new century, their successors at GCHQ continue this intellectual tradition. Like their Bletchley predecessors, they have become well known for valuing neurodiversity and understanding the importance of mental well-being.”

Charles and Camilla joined the Prince of Wales, politicians and veterans at the event on Southsea Common.

The King gave his first public speech since being diagnosed with cancer.

He said: “The stories of courage, resilience and solidarity we have heard today and throughout our lives cannot fail to move us, to inspire us and to remind us of what we owe to that great wartime generation.'

“The stories of courage, resilience and solidarity which you have heard today and throughout our lives cannot fail to move us, to inspire us and to remind us of what we owe to that great wartime generation, now tragically dwindling to so few.

“It is our privilege to hear that testimony, but our role is not purely passive. It is our duty to ensure that we and future generations do not forget their service and their sacrifice in replacing tyranny with freedom.”

Pictures showed the King appear to wipe a tear from his eye, and the Queen appeared emotional following words from Royal Navy serviceman Eric Bateman, in which he described losing fellow servicemen on the beaches, including his best friend.

After the event, Charles also met veterans, with one, 98-year-old Keith Whiting, who served with the Royal Marines, sharing a joke with him and revealing that he had served on the same ship as the King's father, the late Duke of Edinburgh.

Another veteran, Roy Hayward, 98, who served as a reserve tank crewman and landed on Gold Beach, met the King after appearing on stage during the show.

After meeting members of the royal family, he told the PA news agency: "I thoroughly enjoyed every one of them, I thought they were super actually, I was most impressed by the way they chatted to me and were so friendly.

"They asked me how I got on and how I had my legs blown off."

At the Portsmouth commemorations, William read an extract from the diary of Captain Alastair Bannerman of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment, a soldier who was part of D-Day, addressed to his wife on the morning of the landings.

King Charles III and Queen Camilla during the UK’s national commemorative event for the 80th anniversary of D-Day (Dylan Martinez/PA) (PA Wire)
King Charles III and Queen Camilla during the UK’s national commemorative event for the 80th anniversary of D-Day (Dylan Martinez/PA) (PA Wire)

He told the flag-waving crowd he was "deeply honoured" to be part of proceedings on Southsea Common and said "we will always remember those who served".

William wore medals during his address, including the Great Master of The Most Honourable Order of the Bath around his neck, Golden, Diamond and Platinum Jubilee medals and a Coronation Medal.

The Prime Minister also wrote a piece for the programme, in which he said "we must never forget how much we owe" those who took part in D-Day.

At the event, Rishi Sunak read an address by Field Marshal Montgomery, which was delivered to the troops ahead of the D-Day landings.

Dame Helen Mirren formally introduced the event at around 11am, where she praised the bravery of the veterans in attendance.

Call The Midwife star Helen George led an ensemble of singers in a rendition of Dame Vera Lynn's We'll Meet Again at the national commemorative event.

Veterans in the audience were seen singing along to the lyrics as members of the crowd waved Union flags.

The song, released in 1939, has become closely associated with the Second World War and became the basis of a 1943 musical of the same name set during the Blitz in London.

The Normandy landings were the largest seaborne invasion in history, with the 1944 battle laying the foundation for an Allied victory.

Troops from the UK, the US, Canada and France attacked German forces on the beaches at Normandy in northern France on June 6 1944.

Allied troops departed from Portsmouth on June 5, so the UK and French governments will host memorial events at both ports to commemorate the D-Day landings.

After the Portsmouth show, tributes moved to the beaches of Normandy, where hundreds of allied defence personnel parachuted into a historic D-Day drop zone to commemorate the airborne invasion of 80 years ago.

The Princess Royal spoke to veterans (Hannah McKay/PA) (PA Wire)
The Princess Royal spoke to veterans (Hannah McKay/PA) (PA Wire)

Elsewhere on Wednesday, the Princess Royal unveiled a statue in Normandy of a rifleman from the Royal Regina Rifles, shown weapon in hand storming the beaches on D-Day, as she hailed the "loyalty, bravery and duty" of a Canadian regiment.

She then paid tribute to British D-Day veterans at the Royal British Legion's service of commemoration at Bayeux War Cemetery, telling one he was the reason she performed her public role.

Anne joined veterans and their families at the service, where the congregation was surrounded by the manicured graves of more than 4,000 military casualties.

Before the service, she chatted to Don Jones, 99, who served in the Royal Navy ferrying men and equipment on to Sword Beach.

She told him that one reason she carries out her role "is because I meet people like you".

The Ministry of Defence and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission are also to host a joint UK-France thanksgiving service at Bayeux Cathedral.

On Wednesday, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission's Bayeux War Cemetery will light up in honour of those who fought on the beaches.

On Thursday - the 80th anniversary of D-Day - commemorations will begin in Normandy at 7.25am, the same time the beach invasion began in 1944.

A military piper will land on the beaches of Arromanches-les-Bains in a Royal Marines landing craft and begin playing a lament in tribute to those who led the beach landings.

The official British commemoration for the 80th anniversary of D-Day will take place at the British Normandy Memorial at Ver-sur-Mer, where the King will join French President Emmanuel Macron and Mr Sunak.

The Prince of Wales will attend events in Normandy including a service hosted by Canada at Juno Beach and an international ceremony hosted by France at Omaha Beach, which will be attended by more than 25 heads of state.

The Prime Minister will deliver a short speech at Ver-sur-Mer and lead a "heroes' welcome" for the veterans.