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‘Emotional’ moment as William reads out letter written by soldier on D-Day

The Prince of Wales speaking during the UK’s national commemorative event for the 80th anniversary of D-Day on Southsea Common in Portsmouth (Leon Neal/PA)
The Prince of Wales speaking during the UK’s national commemorative event for the 80th anniversary of D-Day on Southsea Common in Portsmouth (Leon Neal/PA)

The Prince of Wales has had the chance to meet the granddaughter and great-granddaughter of the soldier who wrote a letter to his wife on D-Day, which he read out during the 80th anniversary national commemoration in Portsmouth.

William read the letter written in a diary on the day of the landings by Captain Alastair Bannerman, a soldier who was part of the D-Day forces, during the event held to mark the key anniversary of the pivotal Second World War battle.

Amy Callebaut, 40, from Bideford, Devon, who is Cpt Bannerman’s granddaughter attended the event with her daughter Naina, five.

She told the PA news agency: “It was really quite emotional. We had the reading in advance and re-reading his diary entries but the moment of the day and the ceremony and everything else and that it was Prince William reading my grandfather’s words made me feel really emotional.”

On meeting the prince, she said: “I had hoped that I might have an opportunity to pass on a message of thanks at least so it felt really special.

“He told me that he felt really honoured to read the diary and the entry.”

Describing her grandfather, she added: “He was an eccentric. When he was captured during the D-Day landings he escaped twice and was captured three times in two days and was kept as a prisoner of war until the end of the war when he came home.

“During the time he was prisoner of war he ended up being in charge of cooking and entertainment in the prisoner of war camp.

“He was a family man devoted to his wife, children and grandchildren, he was an actor, performer, a really good fun, really caring, loving man.”

William could be heard asking Ms Callebaut if he “did the letter justice” and had come across as “sincere” before telling her: “I found it very moving when I read it the first time.”

He also asked Naina if she had enjoyed the Red Arrows flyover and Ms Callebaut said that her daughter had wanted to know where his daughter Charlotte was.

He told her: “Charlotte’s at school, Charlotte’s got exams, she’s got tests.”