Factbox-What you need to know about the D-Day 80th anniversary ceremonies

By Thomson Reuters Jun 5, 2024 | 7:06 PM

PARIS (Reuters) – World leaders and veterans gather in Normandy on Thursday to mark the 80th anniversary of the June 6, 1944 D-Day landings, when more than 150,000 Allied soldiers invaded France in a major turning point of World War Two.

Here is what you need to know about the events:


– With war raging on Europe’s borders, in Ukraine, this anniversary’s D-Day events carry special resonance.

– The number of British, American, Canadian and French veterans still alive is dwindling fast. This is one of the last major ceremonies on Normandy’s beaches to honour a significant number of survivors.


– Around 4,500 guests are expected, including about 200 veterans, mostly from the U.S., Britain, Canada and France. Among them will be 101-year old U.S. Army veteran Jake Larson.

– U.S. President Joe Biden will be there while on a state visit to France.

– Russia will not be represented. President Vladimir Putin was never on the guest list due to the invasion of Ukraine. But France had initially invited Russia’s ambassador in recognition of his country’s massive sacrifices during World War Two, before rescinding the invitation.

– Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy will take part “in view of the historical resonance of the landing with the just fight that the Ukrainian nation is leading today,” a French presidency source said. As for Russia, “the conditions for its participation are not met, considering the war of aggression it launched in 2022,” the source added.

– Britain’s King Charles, Queen Camilla and Prince William will be among the guests, along with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, Canada’s Justin Trudeau and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

– Charles will take part in the morning British ceremony but will miss the international Omaha Beach ceremony on the advice of medical staff as he continues to recover from cancer.


– Ceremonies will kick off at around 0830 GMT at the British Normandy Memorial in Ver-sur-Mer. Canada will hold its own ceremony at 0900 GMT, attended by Prince William.

At around 1000 GMT, Biden will lead a U.S. ceremony in the presence of D-Day veterans. And at 1300 GMT, Macron will preside over an international ceremony at Omaha Beach, where U.S. forces suffered their greatest casualties in the assault against heavily fortified German defences.

At around 1600 GMT, world leaders are expected to gather in Caen for diplomatic talks.

– On June 7, Biden will deliver remarks at Pointe du Hoc, Normandy, about the importance of defending freedom and democracy.

(Reporting by Elizabeth Pineau, Ingrid Melander, John Irish and Michael Holden; writing by Ingrid Melander; editing by Mark Heinrich, Gareth Jones, Andrew Heavens, Alexandra Hudson)