UK, French troops march in historic parades - GulfToday

UK, French troops march in historic parades


British members of Number 7 Company Coldstream Guards march along the street outside the Elysee Palace in Paris on Monday. AFP

French troops joined their British counterparts in the famous Changing of the Guard ceremony outside Buckingham Palace for the first time on Monday, marching together in a display of solidarity between Britain and France amid the war in Ukraine.

At a parallel ceremony in Paris, British soldiers wearing tall bearskin hats took part in an unprecedented joint military parade in front of the presidential Elysée Palace, as the French army choir sang the two national anthems, “God Save the King” and “La Marseillaise.”

The twin events were to celebrate the 120th anniversary of the Entente Cordiale, the 1904 diplomatic agreement between Britain and France that paved the way for their collaboration in both World War I and World War II.

In a video message posted on social media on Monday, French President Emmanuel Macron said the alliance serves as a foundation for deepening Anglo-French relations particularly at a time of the return of war.

“Our Entente Cordiale remains as relevant as ever,” Macron said. “Faced with the resurgence of war in Europe, we stand together to defend the values we share and to support Ukraine as it defends itself against its aggressor.”

British Foreign Secretary David Cameron and his French counterpart, Stéphane Séjourné, used a joint opinion piece published Monday in the Daily Telegraph to urge allies to boost funding for Ukraine.

“It is not for France and Britain alone to solve these challenges. But, together, we can rally others to join us in overcoming them,” they wrote. “We must do even more to ensure we defeat Russia. The world is watching - and will judge us if we fail.”

Prince Edward and his wife Sophie inspected the joint parade in London, which included 32 members of the Gendarmerie’s Garde Républicaine and 40 guardsmen from the Scots Guards. Edward and Sophie were representing King Charles III, who is continuing his cancer treatment and was not at Buckingham Palace.

It was the first time a country that isn’t part of the Commonwealth group of nations has taken part in the traditional Changing of the Guard ceremony, though the French troops did not participate in guarding the royal residence - a ceremonial duty that can only be performed by UK or Commonwealth troops.

In Paris, 16 members of the Coldstream Guards were the first foreign troops ever to take part in guarding the French presidential residence.

Associated Press

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