The Prince of Wales has had portraits of D-Day veterans commissioned, and today, on the 71st anniversary of the infamous landings, he has described the ‘spirit, resolve, warmth and humanity’ captured in the paintings.
Charles had 12 paintings commissioned, which form an exhibition called ‘The Last Of The Tide’, to ensure an artistic record remained of those who fought during the campaign to liberate Europe from Adolf Hitler and the Third Reich of Germany.
The veterans are depicted wearing their medals, and they all served in regiments with which the Prince or Duchess of Cornwall have a formal association. A number of artists, including Paul Benney and Jonathan Yeo, painted the images, some having created Royal portraits in the past.
Prince Charles will view the exhibition at Buckingham Palace next week with his wife, and said of the portraits:
‘I am delighted to introduce this exhibition of portraits of veterans of the D-Day landings and very much hope that all who see it will share my belief that this wonderful collection of paintings captures the spirit, resolve, warmth and humanity of these remarkable men.
‘It seemed to me a tragedy that there were no portraits of D-Day veterans, hence this collection of remarkable old soldiers from the regiments of which my wife and I are Colonel or Colonel-in-Chief.’
Last year, Prince Charles and The Duchess of Cornwall attended the 70th anniversary D-Day commemorations in Normandy, along with The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh, and other senior members of the Royal Family. Charles and Camilla
Veteran Brian Stewart, a captain with the 1st Battalion, Tyneside Scottish, took part in the D-Day Landings, said:
‘I am sure that we survivors are immensely grateful to HRH for paying tribute to those who served in the Normandy campaign in this special way.
‘I am immensely proud to have been chosen to represent my regiment, the Black Watch, of which the Prince’s grandmother, The Queen Mother, was colonel-in-chief for so many years. I remember the bravery and tenacity with which my anti-tank platoon used their six-pounder guns in Normandy at the battle of Rauray, when we destroyed at least 12 German tanks during a day-long battle.
‘The Prince of Wales and his family have been so supportive to us all over the years. It has been an honour to be involved in this project and to know that veterans from so many different regiments will have their portraits joining the Royal Collection.’
Artist Mr Yeo said of one of his sitters: ‘Painting someone who candidly describes the first time they set foot on foreign soil as the time they jumped out of a moving aircraft and parachuted down through flying bullets, to land in Normandy for D-Day, makes Geoffrey one of the more extraordinary sitters I’ve encountered in my time as a portrait artist.’
Sadly, one sitter, Raymond ‘Tich’ Raynor, who landed in a glider on D-Day, has passed away since the commissioning of the portraits.
The Prince of Wales also paints, and for the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain in 2010, commissioned a similar collection of 15 portraits of surviving veterans.
The exhibition is being held at The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace, and will run from 6th to the 17th of June; entry is free.
Photo: UK in France