LONDON - Prince Charles will attend this week's 65th-anniversary commemoration of the D-Day landings, royal officials said yesterday, in an attempt to defuse a cross-Channel spat over France's alleged failure to invite his mother, Queen Elizabeth II.
Charles' office announced that he would attend, alongside President Obama and French President Nicolas Sarkozy, after days of outrage by British veterans and commentators over the omission of the queen, who is Britain's head of state and supreme commander of its armed forces.
"The Prince of Wales will be attending the commemorations on D-Day in Normandy on the invitation of President Sarkozy," a spokesman said on condition of anonymity in line with palace policy.
The presence of a senior royal should soothe some ruffled feathers in Britain, which lost thousands of troops helping to free France from the Nazis. But some observers said the insult remained.
"Obviously the queen couldn't go now," said Ingrid Seward, editor-in-chief of Majesty magazine. "It's still an insult she wasn't invited."
The most senior British representative at the ceremony to commemorate the Normandy landings Saturday was to have been Prime Minister Gordon Brown rather than the queen.
France denied it had meant to snub the queen, and said it was up to Britain to decide whom to send.
But the British government said Sarkozy had invited Brown personally, and Buckingham Palace said that until Sarkozy contacted Charles through the French Embassy in London, no member of the royal family had received an invitation to the ceremony.