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Beloved British queen snubbed

When President Obama hits Europe next week for the 65th anniversary of D-day, he will land smack in the middle of a tempest in a very appropriate, diplomatic teapot.

The American president is among the dignitaries set to commemorate the June 6 invasion of France by the Allies as they began the final act in the liberation of Fortress Europa from Adolf Hitler’s Nazis.

Somehow, the French didn’t invite Queen Elizabeth II to this year’s ceremony, though the popular British monarch was a participant in the 50th and 60th anniversaries. In a special twist of Gallic logic, the French invited British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, whose popularity is at a low point amid scandals and a poor economy, rather than the comforting figure of the British monarch.

Elizabeth, then a princess, was a plucky volunteer on the beleaguered British home front during the worst of World War II. After the war, she married Prince Philip, who served with distinction in the Royal Navy during the fighting but had family connections to Nazis and had earlier expressed sympathy for Germany under Hitler.

In their typical backhanded way, the French have sort of apologized for snubbing the queen and have said that she is welcome to attend.

But when it comes to huffiness, the aristocracy knows no peer. Buckingham Palace has huffily responded that the queen is not amused and that no royal is available to attend the ceremony.

Explaining why the queen was skipped over, the French said the celebration was a “Franco-American affair,” which has strange echoes of a favorite pasta dish rather than political nuance. 

The White House has been mum.

-- Michael Muskal

Comments () | Archives (12)

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"Franco-American affair"

ah, well - in that case, remove the crosses on all the Canadian & British war graves in France

She can always come to my 26th wedding anniversary party, June 5 on the Left Coast. Where should I send the invite?

Now...that's a strange behaviour...

That's horrible. Obama should boycott this thing too and have tea with the Queen instead. I am utterly disgusted by the French.

Do you think it was the cheap WalMart I-Pod that King Obama gave Queen Elizabeth or the pat on the back from King Obama's wife that has Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth, in a tiff???

I think the next time France is over run, we'll let the German's keep it. Not only have they snubbed the British, but the Canadians as well. Can anyone remember the last time the French won a war.... Nope, neither can I!!!

This is enormously insulting. A "Franco-American affair"????? Are you kidding me? Britain held off the Nazis before the US deigned to join in the war. Britain also provided enormous help to the French. Without Britain, the French would not be speaking French today.

Sounds like the ever-insecure Sarkozy is trying to bask in the reflected glory of Obama who, I've read, is more popular in France than Sarkozy. It is patently ridiculous to exclude the Brits in the person of Queen Liz. That is very bad form and apparently it is meant to be. Gallic arrogance is such a pain in the butt.

It is outrageous that the Queen was not invited. The United States was not the only country landing on the shores of France on D-Day. The British and Commonwealth countries were right there with us. Before we got into the war, the UK were the last free people of Europe fighting the good fight; a place for Free French to go. The French President should bring flowers and candy and go apologize in person, and beg the Queen to please come.

Considering the French attitude toward the British, even at the worst part of WWII, this isn't really a surprise. You have to remember that prior to WWII, there were maybe twelve years in the previous 300 in which the French were willing to allow anyone from "perfidious Albion" to share their oxygen.

General Eisenhower was named supreme commander of the AEF because the French didn't want to cooperate with the British.This was in spite of the fact that Eisenhower was outranked by all of his British subordinate commanders (he was a major general when he took the job, and spent much of 1943 as a lieutenant general).

That French attitude surfaced during the North Africa campaign (especially toward the end, in Tunisia), and continued through the end of the war.

This shouldn't be surprising since the English and French have been fighting each other for over 400 years now.

Just normal behavoir..

'Without Britain, the French would not be speaking French today.'

i somehow doubt that; neither did napoleon stop germans from speaking german, when he overran europe.
and even in america, some people still won't talk chinese.


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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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