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D-Day trip signals royal job-share

Jan. 19: Prince Charles will accompany the Queen on the beaches of Normandy this summer to mark the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings — as the monarchy moves towards an effective “job-share”.

The joint trip on June 6 is the most high-profile example yet of Charles sharing official duties with his mother on the world stage.

The heir to the throne will stand in for the Queen at some of the day’s key engagements.

In another sign that Charles will be taking on more of the monarch’s work, royal aides are expected to announce this week the merger of his press office with that of the Queen.

A single communications team, based in Buckingham Palace, will be overseen by one of Charles’s staff, a symbolic move that shows the heir to the throne is increasingly taking on his mother’s role.

The news that Charles will accompany the Queen to Normandy, helping her through a packed schedule of events, comes amid suggestions that this could be the monarch’s final official foreign trip.

A French government adviser involved in planning the D-Day commemorations said: “We have been told this will probably be the Queen’s last official foreign visit.”

Palace sources confirmed this weekend that the Queen’s diary contains no more official foreign trips. Her last foreign state visit was to Ireland three years ago. The sources stressed, however, that no formal decision had been taken and insisted that it was “business as usual”.

“Invitations are still coming in and we are assessing them on their merits,” a source said. The source also stressed that even when the Queen delegates jobs to Charles and the other royals, she remains in charge.

After 261 official visits overseas in her 62-year reign, the Queen will be joining British veterans of the Allied invasion of Nazi-occupied France for their collective last hurrah.

She will be guest of honour at the international ceremony on Sword Beach.

Most of the British veterans of the largest amphibious invasion in history are in their nineties and only 200 are expected to be in good enough health to attend.

The Queen turns 88 in April and, since suffering a bout of ill-health last spring, has steadily been shifting responsibility to younger generations of the royal family.

 
 
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