Although the royals are largely spending the month out of the spotlight, Prince William took a break from the holiday to attend commemorations marking the centenary of the Battle of Amiens in France.
After greeting British Prime Minister Theresa May, who dipped down for a curtsy, the 36-year-old royal gave the opening reading at Amiens Cathedral ahead of meeting descendants of those who fought at the World War I battle.
“I am delighted to join you all today to mark this important centenary in this historic cathedral of Amien,” said Prince William. “From the very first start of the First World War, Amien found itself at the heart of the conflict. For most of the war, it was just behind the allied front lines and military personnel soon become a familiar sight around its streets, around its shops, cafes and hotels.”
He continued, “For thousands of servicemen it became a home away from home, above all Ambien was a city of connections – its railway line was a vital link between Paris and the north. Here the armies of France and the British Empire came together – it connected the allies. During the defence of the city against the great German offensive in April 1918, shelling and bombing destroyed many of the buildings here. Thankfully, this great cathedral was spared significant damage.”
William also laid flowers in the Chapel of Allies alongside representatives from the partner countries, as a reaffirmation of friendship between the Allies, Germany and the city of Amiens.
Around 2,000 guests attended the ceremony, which featured readings including diary extracts, letters, poems and personal accounts from those who were there.
Commemorations told the story of the Battle of Amiens, which heralded the Hundred Days Offensive and started the path to the Armistice in November 1918 after Allied forces advanced over seven miles on the first day of the battle, 100 years ago Wednesday.
“What began here on the 8th August was truly a coalition operation under the strategic command of a great Frenchman Marshal Foch, a battle in which the forces of many nations came together to fight. In which ariel, mechanical and human courage and ingenuity combined with devastating results,” William said in his speech. “Amiens was symbolic of the entente cordiale, the cooperation without which victory was impossible.”
William’s summer started with a sunshine break in the Caribbean with wife Kate Middleton and their three children — Prince George, 5, Princess Charlotte, 3, and Prince Louis, 3 months. They visited Mustique with Kate’s parents — where they likely enjoyed tennis, scuba-diving and teaching the older children to swim.
For the first time, George and Charlotte are both on a break from school until early September. Therefore, their usual trip to the Queen Elizabeth‘s summer getaway at Balmoral Castle in Scotland that often takes place in early September might have to come sooner. The family is also likely to spend much of their time at their country home, Anmer Hall, rather than Kensington Palace in London, which is fringed by parks that are packed with tourists this time of year.