The Prince Of Wales spent the day in The Netherlands today, for engagements related to World War II: he joined Princess Beatrix for the 75th anniversary of Operation Market Garden in Arnhem, where the two of them shared a sweet moment with their arms draped around one another.
Operation Market Garden was an unsuccessful mission that took place during World War II. The plan of the mission, thought up by British Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery, was to drop around 35,000 paratroopers behind enemy lines in the Nazi-occupied Netherlands. The soldiers were given orders to capture and secure key roads and bridges so that the Allied forces in Belgium could enter into Germany and end the war. But the operation was stalled at a bridge in Arnhem.
Today, Operation Market Garden is considered the largest airborne operation in history, with approximately 10,600 Commonwealth servicemen taking part; only 2,400 of those servicemen returned.
Today, both Charles and Beatrix – the former Queen of The Netherlands, who abdicated in 2013 – joined veterans who took part in the operation for the commemoration in Ginkle Heath in Arnhem. The commemoration event takes place every year to commemorate all those who fought in the Battle of Arnhem.
Prince Charles – who is Colonel-in-Chief of The Parachute Regiment and The Army Air Corps – wore his military fatigues to attend the event, where he laid a wreath alongside Princess Beatrix. This year, part of the ceremony included military aircraft flying over Ginkle Heath, near Ede, before 15,000 parachutists leaped out to the sound of applause from all the spectators watching bellow. One of those parachutists was 97-year-old Sandy Cortmann, who took part in the mission 75 years ago.
Following the commemorative event, Prince Charles met with many of the veterans, who fought in the Battle of Arnhem, who were in attendance at the event.
After a quick change from his fatigues into a grey suit and military medals, The Prince of Wales paid a visit to St. Eusebius Church. During the visit, he took in an exhibit on the Battle of Arnhem which has been produced by over 400 local school children – primary and secondary – before he unveiled a plaque to mark the completion of the recent tower restoration works.
St. Eusebius Church was heavily damaged during the Battle of Arnhem, and it is said that during the battle the church bells in the tower began to ring. In August 1994, the Royal hosted a reception in London for the Arnhem Bells Appeal before traveling to Arnhem the following month, October 1994, where he visited St. Eusebius to attend the inauguration event for the brand new bells.
HRH unveils a plaque at St. Eusebius Church to mark the completion of the recent tower restoration works.
— Clarence House (@ClarenceHouse) September 21, 2019
From St. Eusebius it was on to Driel for the future King, which is situated around four kilometres southwest of Arnhem, where Charles attended a service for the 1st Polish Independent Parachute Brigade. 75 years ago today, 1000 Polish paratroopers, under the command of General Sosabowski, landed in Driel to support the Alied troops as part of Operation Market Garden. The Prince laid a wreath in honour of all of those who fought during the operation.
The Prince ended his day of engagements in The Netherlands in Oosterbeek, around five kilometres west of Arnhem. He was there to visit members of the Army Air Corps at the Airborne Museum in his role as Colonel-in-Chief. Charles met with members of the Air Corps before he viewed a replica Horsa glider that is currently on display. The Horsa glider was used during World War II to carry fully armed and equipped airborne soldiers and to supply materials to the front line.
And so a busy day, with visits to three different towns to commemorate those who fought in the Second World War, came to an end for Prince Charles.