Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II will visit France in June, it was announced on Monday, sending out a clear signal that she is not close to retirement.
Buckingham Palace announced that the 87-year-old Queen and her husband Prince Philip are expected to arrive in France on June 5, and spend the following day in Normandy for the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings before travelling to Paris.
The Queen, who last made a state visit to France in April 2004, was invited by French President Francois Hollande.
“The Queen, accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh, will make a state visit to France from June 5 to 7,” the palace said in a statement.
“Her Majesty and His Royal Highness are visiting at the invitation of the President of France, President Hollande. On June 6 the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh will attend events in Normandy to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Normandy landings,” the statement said.
“On June 6 and 7 Her Majesty and His Royal Highness will attend state visit events in Paris and be received at the Elysee Palace by President Hollande,” it said.
The announcement of the state visit contradicts recent speculation that the Queen was preparing to hand over overseas duties entirely to her son and heir Prince Charles.
The Queen, who is head of the Armed Forces, and Prince Philip, who served in the Royal Navy during World War II, have both suffered illness in the past 12 months.
However, the visit being organised and announced so far in advance is a clear indication that both are in good health.
The D-Day landings mark the start of the European invasion of Normandy in northern France by the Allied Forces during World War II in June 1944 and the event is being commemorated 70 years on in France.