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UK fumes over royal rebuke on D-Day

A DIPLOMATIC tiff over Queen Elizabeth II's omission from the guest list for today's D-Day commemorations has reopened a divide over who should share credit for the World War II defeat of Nazi Germany.

Britons are grumbling that the nation does not get its due - either from its wartime ally, the United States, or from the French whom it helped to liberate.

Today US President Barack Obama and French President Nicolas Sarkozy will stand side by side in Normandy to remember the Allied landings 65 years ago, when more than 150,000 troops attacked Nazi-occupied French soil, turning the tide of the war.

The queen - Britain's head of state, the supreme commander of its armed forces and a veteran of the wartime women's Auxiliary Territorial Service - won't be there. Prime Minister Gordon Brown was invited to represent the country instead.

After days of diplomatic dallying, Buckingham Palace said on Tuesday that Sarkozy had sent an invitation to the queen's son and heir, Prince Charles - a move that helped soothe ruffled British feathers.

The French insisted no slight was meant, and said today's ceremony is intended primarily as a US-French event, rather than a full-blown commemoration of the Allied effort like those held on the 50th and 60th anniversaries.

That has left Britons feeling slighted. More than 60,000 British troops landed on June 6, 1944, alongside 73,000 Americans, more than 20,000 Canadians and a small number of Free French commandos.

Agnes Poirier, a London-based French political commentator, said the attempt to recast D-Day commemorations as a Franco-American affair "is not only the rewriting of history, it's lunacy."


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