» Tuesday, June 2, 2009


Asked if the White House had asked No 10 to assist them in getting an invite to The Queen, the PMS said that we had been in touch with the White House to understand what exactly had been meant by the suggestion that they had been involved in this; it was news to us. When we raised this with the French it was news to them as well. The statement had clearly been made with the best of intentions and we welcomed that, but we were not aware of any lobbying from the White House in relation to British representation.

Asked how there came to be a situation where the heads of state for both France and America were represented but not the UK, the PMS said that there were specific invitations from the French in relation to this. As we and the Palace had said repeatedly, we were content with the arrangements. The Prime Minister said recently that if The Queen or any other member of the Royal Family wanted to attend then we would do everything possible to try and make that happen.

Put that The Queen scheduled her diary months in advance and that this was not a last minute thing, this PMS said that the big set piece commemorative events usually took place every ten years. The French government had put this year s process in place just a few months ago. It was a few months ago that an invitation was extended to the Prime Minister. The Palace said they were content with the arrangements. We discussed these issues with the Palace and we had always said that we were happy to facilitate in any way we could in terms of UK representation.

Asked if The Queen wanted to go, the PMS said that our understanding was that the Palace was content with the arrangements.

Asked if the invite from France had been specifically for the Prime Minister, the PMS said yes.

Asked about the invite to the Arromanches event, the PMS said that that was an event organised by the Veterans Association so they sent out invitations. The Prime Minister had been invited to this event.

Put that the invitation from France had been for a UK representative and had been sent to Downing Street, the PMS said that that wasn t true; the Prime Minister was invited personally by President Sarkozy at a meeting they had in March. This had been announced at the time.

Put that Presidents Sarkozy and Obama were heads of government as well as heads of state, the PMS said that was true; Steven Harper was also attending and he was not Canada s head of state.

Put that the lout in this was President Sarkozy, the PMS said he would not characterise it in that way.

Asked if the French came up with the D-Day plan after it was clear Barack Obama would become President, the PMS said that that was a question for the French of US government.

Asked if the Prime Minister consulted the Palace about invitations, the PMS said that we had been consulting very closely with the Palace throughout, and at every stage they had been content.

Asked if the Prime Minister had spoken to President Obama on an official level about this, the PMS said no.

Put that the Palace had been overlooked until it was too late to change things, the PMS said that the Palace had never expressed that sentiment to us and were content with the arrangement.

Asked at what stage the Palace had been consulted, the PMS said that he was not going to get into who said what and when but whenever we had discussed it with the Palace they had been content with the arrangements.

Asked if there was a veiled suggestion to the Palace that The Queen should be sent to the D-Day commemorations, the PMS said no.

original source.

Briefing took place at 11:00 | Search for related news

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