King Charles Unveiled Entries From His Late Grandfather, King George VI

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King Charles Unveiled Entries From His Late Grandfather, King George VI

In anticipation of two days of national commemorations marking the 80th anniversary of the Normandy Landings, the monarch and his wife listened to the poignant stories of four participants.

Sharing a photo of the wartime King with General Montgomery, he engaged with his guests. His Majesty said: “I thought you might like to see one or two things that we have from my grandfather King George VI. This was a photograph of him on the beach with General Montgomery, who funnily enough I remember very well.”

“I spoke to Montgomery when I was in Normandy. And to Churchill,” replied Bernard Morgan, a codebreaker who was the youngest RAF sergeant to land in Normandy.

“And was Sir Winston still smoking his cigar in those days?” asked the King. “Yes he always had one!” replied Bernard.

King Charles added: “My grandfather was so determined to go. He got very frustrated because they wouldn’t let him go until several days later.”

The King, who is patron of the Royal British Legion, then produced a book open at a page of neat handwriting, adding: “This was my grandfather’s diary. This was his D-Day entry, ‘The news was given out at 8am that the invasion of the continent of Europe had started last night. The airborne troops had made successful landings in the night and have captured their objectives. So that was something’.”

During the poignant meeting, which will be aired on BBC One as part of its D-Day anniversary coverage, the King and Queen attentively listened as Arthur Oborne, aged 100 and a veteran of the 49th Division of the 6th Battalion Duke of Wellington’s Regiment, recounted his experience of being shot in the lung three days after landing on Gold Beach. He was rescued by his friend Walter, who tragically lost his life the following day, along with the rest of their unit.

Arthur, from Portishead, near Bristol, said: “These are the dog tags which were recovered after I got a bullet through the lung, and there is blood still on some of them… He rescued me, and as a family we will never forget it. We found that he was killed the day after… We visited his grave a number of times.”

Arthur did not speak about his experiences until 2019, when he returned to Normandy for the 75th anniversary of D-Day. “It must be very difficult recollecting it all,” sympathised the Queen. The King appeared moved and nodded his head in agreement as John Dennett, 99, from Wallasey, told him: “When you look back at the lads we lost, it was colossal. It’s frightening. But that’s when you feel grateful for what you’ve been through.”

He added: “I class myself as being very lucky and I appreciate being able to do what I can now and being able to enjoy the life that we all fought for.”

John, who was a Navy gunner on a landing craft at Sword Beach, also made the royal couple laugh as he shared a photograph of “the girl I met in the dancehall before D-Day,” going on to reveal they had later married in 1947. The King giggled as John said of his wife Joyce: “She was a very good dancer, so I kept nipping back to the dancehall for another dance.”

Bernard, from Crewe, Cheshire, told the Queen: “When we came off the landing ship tank down on the beach, the Army were there collecting the poor soldiers who drowned on the initial landing.”

“These are football boots I carried all through the war. I played 12 games of football, including one on the landing craft going to Normandy,” he said.

The King told him: “I don’t believe it… How fantastic. Their Majesties also spoke to Jim Miller, who the King had presented with a 100th birthday card and who landed on Juno beach while serving in the 11th Hussars reconnaissance regiment. “Remembrance is so important,” he told the royal couple. “The younger generation must learn about it and take it to heart.”

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