King and Queen appear emotional amid tributes to 'courage' of D-Day veterans

The King and Queen appeared to be moved to tears as they paid tribute to the "courage and service" of veterans at commemorations for the 80th anniversary of D-Day.

At an event in Portsmouth, the King said it was "our duty" to ensure the "sacrifice" made by the wartime generation in "replacing tyranny with freedom" was never forgotten.

Pictures showed the King appearing to wipe a tear from his eye at an event which saw him make his first public speech and his most high-profile appearance since his cancer diagnosis earlier this year.

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The Queen seemed to be emotional following words from Royal Navy serviceman Eric Bateman at the major event, which was also attended by the Prince of Wales, politicians and veterans.

Addressing the crowd, the King said: "The stories of courage, resilience and solidarity we have heard today and throughout our lives cannot fail to move us, to inspire us and to remind us of what we owe to that great wartime generation.

"It is our privilege to hear that testimony, but our role is not purely passive.

"It is our duty to ensure that we and future generations do not forget their service and their sacrifice in replacing tyranny with freedom."

The King praised the "truly collective effort" of those on the home front during the Second World War and said Britain was "eternally" indebted to those who served.

William read an extract from the diary of Captain Alastair Bannerman of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment, a soldier who was part of D-Day, addressed to his wife on the morning of the landings.

He told the flag-waving crowd he was "deeply honoured" to be part of proceedings on Southsea Common and said "we will always remember those who served".

He wore medals during his address, including the Great Master of The Most Honourable Order of the Bath around his neck, Golden, Diamond and Platinum Jubilee medals and a coronation medal.

Dame Helen Mirren formally introduced the event at around 11am, where she praised the bravery of the veterans in attendance.

Children waved Union Jack flags as actor Phil Dunster appeared on stage in 1940s military clothing to read a letter written by Major Rodney Maude of the Royal Engineers 48 hours before D-Day.

Call The Midwife star Helen George led an ensemble of singers in a rendition of Dame Vera Lynn's We'll Meet Again, with the crowd joining in with the lyrics from the 1939 song.

Some veterans will attend two days of remembrance events in Portsmouth to mark the historic milestone.

'I'm very lucky to be here'

Elsewhere on Wednesday, a D-Day veteran leading an act of remembrance saluted fallen soldiers as the Last Post was played at a ceremony in Normandy.

Some 11 veterans with the Spirit of Normandy Trust joined commemorations in Colleville-Montgomery.

Royal Navy veteran Alec Penstone, 99, who served on HMS Campania, said: "I'm surprised I'm still here, I didn't expect to be. I'm very lucky."

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Legacy of the Mad Piper who played bagpipes on D-Day beaches

Princess Anne hails 'loyalty and bravery' of soldiers

The Princess Royal unveiled a statue in Normandy of a rifleman from the Royal Regina Rifles, shown weapon in hand storming the beaches on D-Day, as she hailed the "loyalty, bravery and duty" of a Canadian regiment.

Princes Anne then paid tribute to British D-Day veterans at the Royal British Legion's service of commemoration at Bayeux War Cemetery, telling one he was the reason she performed her public role.

Anne joined veterans and their families at the service, where the congregation was surrounded by the manicured graves of more than 4,000 military casualties.

The Normandy landings were the largest seaborne invasion in history, with the 1944 battle laying the foundation for an Allied victory.

Troops from the UK, the US, Canada and France attacked German forces on the beaches at Normandy in northern France on 6 June 1944.

Allied troops departed from Portsmouth on 5 June.

On Thursday - the 80th anniversary of D-Day - commemorations will begin in Normandy at 7.25am, the same time the beach landings began in 1944.

A military piper will land on the beaches of Arromanches-les-Bains in a Royal Marines landing craft and begin playing a lament in tribute to those who led the landings.