Page last updated at 14:44 GMT, Sunday, 31 May 2009 15:44 UK

Queen 'welcome at D-Day service'

The PM says he would "make it possible" for the Queen to attend if she wished

Gordon Brown has said he will arrange for the Queen to attend next Saturday's D-Day events in France if she wants to.

The prime minister told BBC One's Andrew Marr programme if any royal wants to be at the commemorations on 6 June he would "make that possible".

Buckingham Palace has said there would be no royal presence because no-one was invited, but denied claims of a snub.

Mr Brown will represent the UK at the event in Normandy, to mark those who died storming the beaches 65 years ago.

'Disgrace'

Downing Street reportedly only decided to attend the event once it was pointed out the anniversary would be the last time many veterans would be able to travel.

The Conservatives have criticised the government for failing to secure a royal invitation from their French counterparts - protocol means they cannot invite themselves.

Tory leader David Cameron told BBC One's Politics Show he did not want to involve the Queen in politics but went on to say it was a "complete mess".

"To start with they didn't recognise the importance of the 65th anniversary of D-Day," he said.

"So they have been too slow off the mark in planning what is an appropriate commemoration of what was one of the most important days in the history of Western Europe."

Tory MP for Romford Andrew Rosindell told the Sunday Express: "It is shocking and disgraceful that the Queen, who is not only head of state but also head of the British Army, has not been invited to France for such an important event."

When asked whether it was a "disgrace" the Queen would not be there, Mr Brown said he had simply fulfilled his duty as the prime minister by accepting French president Nicolas Sarkozy's personal invitation.

We have never expressed any sense of anger or frustration at all, and are content with all the arrangements that are planned
Buckingham Palace

The event was intended for prime ministers and presidents rather than royals, Mr Brown added.

"But if the queen wanted to attend these events or if any member of the royal family wanted to attend these events, I would make that possible," he said.

US President Barack Obama will join Mr Sarkozy for commemorations at the American Cemetery in Normandy.

French officials said the Queen was welcome and the UK government was responsible for deciding who should attend what was "primarily a Franco-American ceremony".

Hundreds of British veterans will hold their main memorial event at the Arromanches landing beaches, where thousands of troops poured ashore on 6 June 1944, and during the following days.

Queen at RAF Cranwell, 28 May 2009
The French government has denied snubbing the Queen

A Royal British Legion Service of Remembrance, at Bayeux Cathedral, will also be held.

A Buckingham Palace spokesman said: "Neither the Queen nor any other members of the royal family will be attending the D-Day commemorations on June 6 as we have not received an official invitation to any of these events.

"We would like to reiterate that we have never expressed any sense of anger or frustration at all, and are content with all the arrangements that are planned."

The Normandy landings saw thousands of Allied troops pour on to the beaches of occupied France and marked a strategic turning point in the war against Nazi Germany.

For the 60th anniversary of the invasion in 2004, the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh and the Prince of Wales all attended commemoration events in France.


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