Today, The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall continued their visit to France, spending the day in Lyon where they celebrated Victory in Europe (VE) Day.
The celebrations pay tribute to 8th May 1945, when Nazi Germany surrendered unconditionally to the Allies. Throughout Europe, the remaining German troops laid down their weapons, effectively ending World War II and liberating Europe from the terror of the Third Reich.
As part of the commemorations, Charles and Camilla took part in a remembrance ceremony, held at Le Parc de la Tete d’or in Lyon. They were warmly welcomed by the Mayor of Lyon, Mr. Georges Kepenekian, and the President of the Lyon Metropolitan Area, Mr. David Kimelfeld. The Prince of Wales laid a wreath at the memorial, honouring the sacrifice and bravery of the many French citizens who fought for freedom in the face of tyranny.
Lyon’s stunning war memorial, located in the city centre, stands in dedication to the numerous resistance fighters who were rounded up and imprisoned by the Germans during the war. As part of its annual VE Day celebrations, the city invites all of the living resistance members, victims of the war and ex-combatants to participate in the remembrance ceremony. These ex-combatants are given the honor of being the flag bearers for the commemorations.
The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall had the opportunity to meet with many of the attendees at today’s event. After signing the city of Lyon’s visitor’s book, Charles and Camilla spent the rest of the morning visiting with the many gathered guests. The invitees included not only the veterans and invited guests but members of the public from the surrounding area. Along with The Prince and The Duchess, there were schoolchildren who also participated in the ceremony, with one child also laying flowers in remembrance of the war dead.
After the commemoration service, Charles and Camilla then visited Lyon’s famous Les Halles de Lyon-Paul Bocuse food market, which is named after one of Lyon’s most famous chefs. As the royal visit is in part a celebration of French gastronomy, Prince Charles and Camilla were able to admire and sample some of the goods on offer. As well as meeting stall owners, The Prince of Wales and his wife were given the chance to sample some of the region’s famous red wine, which they both appeared to enjoy!
The couple then parted ways to carry out separate engagements; Charles visited the headquarters of The International Criminal Police Organisation, more commonly known as INTERPOL. The Prince was joined at the HQ by France’s Interior Minister, Gérard Collomb. While there, the heir to the throne was briefed on Operation Libertad, which involved the rescue of 350 potential human trafficking victims across the Americas. The Queen’s eldest son also learnt about the organisation itself, as well as its work on combating cybercrime and the illegal wildlife trade.
— INTERPOL (@INTERPOL_HQ) 8 May 2018
While her husband visited INTERPOL, The Duchess of Cornwall visited the charity Emmaus; Camilla has been the organisation’s patron in the UK since 2006. Emmaus supports men and women who were previously homeless by providing them with accommodation and work. During her visit, The Duchess was shown how the charity restore donated goods, which are then sold on to raise money.
The Duchess also visited VIFILL SOS Femmes, a refuge which helps victims of domestic violence. Originally established in 1979 to house victims, the charity also now helps women who do not have the money needed to leave their abusive partners. Camilla has been a vocal supporter of domestic violence sufferers in recent years and the cause forms a central part of her patronages. During her visit, the royal visitor met with the refuge’s residents and staff, learning about their facilities and experiences.
Afterwards, The Duchess expressed her thoughts on the progress which has been made with regard to this difficult subject in recent years, saying: “I think it’s because these women can get up and talk about it that it’s at last making a difference because I think people are beginning to realise what it’s all about and they also realise ‘it’s not only me’ there’s lots of others have suffered or are suffering and you know perhaps I should get up and tell my story, to stop making it such a taboo subject.”
For his final engagement of the royal visit to France, The Prince of Wales paid a visit to ISARA-Lyon; Charles was on the university campus dedicated to agroecology, sustainable development and food science. The Queen’s eldest son met with some of the university’s staff and students, and also viewed products which they have been developing. The Prince is a keen supporter of sustainable development and actually received France’s Order of Agricultural Merit in 2017 in recognition for his commitment to promoting agroecology and combating climate change.
Tomorrow, Charles and Camilla will leave France and travel to Greece, where they will spend three days at the request of the British Government.