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Prince William Takes Place of Sick King Charles at D-Day Commemoration

Prince William filled in for his father King Charles III Thursday at a large international ceremony commemorating the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings amid the sovereign’s ongoing cancer battle.

As The Daily Beast previously reported, royal sources said a decision had been made for Charles to skip the large event in Normandy attended by other heads of state—including President Joe Biden—in order to “protect” his “continued recovery.” William instead deputized for the king for the event at Omaha Beach.

Cancer-Stricken King Charles to Skip D-Day Commemoration With Biden

Despite missing the international event, Charles did attend a ceremony earlier in the day honoring the British troops killed during the Battle of Normandy. At the British Normandy Memorial, which overlooks beaches where British soldiers landed during World War II, Charles wore full military uniform as he spoke about the importance of remembering their sacrifice.

“Eighty years ago on D-Day, the 6th of June 1944, our nation—and those which stood alongside it—faced what my grandfather, King George VI, described as the supreme test,” Charles said. “How fortunate we were—and the entire free world—that a generation of men and women in the United Kingdom and other allied nations did not flinch when the moment came to face that test.”

An official source previously told The Daily Beast that, in light of Charles’ illness, his schedule has to be “carefully calibrated.” They added that attending both the British ceremony and the larger international event Thursday could prove to be “a step too far at this stage,” which is why the Prince of Wales would be going to the latter gathering in his place.

Charles was joined at the British memorial by Queen Camilla along with French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife, Brigitte Macron. The French First Lady appeared to commit a bit of a faux pas after a wreath-laying at the monument when she tried to take hold of Camilla’s hand—violating an unwritten rule to never initiate any physical contact with royals. (Camilla appeared not to welcome the gesture, and Brigitte quickly backed off).

While Charles and Camilla attended the British event in Ver-sur-Mer, William spoke at an event commemorating Canadian soldiers at the Juno Beach Center in Courseulles-sur-Mer. In front of an audience of veterans and dignitaries including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, William said he was “honored to join you to commemorate the bravery and sacrifice of the Canadian troops who gave so much 80 years ago.”

Elsewhere, President Biden spoke at a commemorative event at the Normandy American Cemetery. He drew parallels between the events of World War II and Russia’s ongoing war in Ukraine, saying “we will not walk away” from defending Ukraine. “To surrender to bullies, to bow down to dictators, is simply unthinkable,” he said.

Without explicitly invoking Russia, Charles also spoke in his address about the importance of international collaboration to secure peace. “We recall the lesson that comes to us, again and again, across the decades: free nations must stand together to oppose tyranny,” he said.

The king has been slowly returning to public duties after taking three months off in the wake of his diagnosis for an as yet undisclosed form of cancer. He made his first public speech since his diagnosis on Wednesday in Portsmouth on the south coast of England, commending the “courage, resilience, and solidarity” of those who set off from the city for the D-Day landings 80 years ago.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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