Queen Camilla struggled to hold back tears during a poignant D-Day commemoration event in Portsmouth, as she listened to Navy veteran Eric Bateman recount the horrors he witnessed on Utah Beach during the Second World War. The emotional ceremony, attended by King Charles and Prince William, served as a powerful reminder of the sacrifices made by the brave men and women who fought for freedom.

Bateman's harrowing account of jumping from boats and landing on the beaches of northern France left both Camilla and Charles visibly moved. "So many men and women, including my dear friend Fred, joined up with me but unfortunately never made it," Bateman said, his words striking a chord with the royal couple.

In his address to the crowd, King Charles emphasized the importance of honoring the service and sacrifice of the wartime generation. "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," he said. "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 also praised the "truly collective effort" of those on the Home Front during the war and expressed his "profound admiration and respect" for those who participated in D-Day. "It remains our solemn duty to continue to honour the outstanding gallantry, service and sacrifice of those who took part in that perilous mission," he wrote in his programme notes for the event.

Prince William, wearing medals including the Great Master of The Most Honourable Order of the Bath, Golden, Diamond and Platinum Jubilee medals, and a coronation medal, read an extract from the diary of Captain Alastair Bannerman of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment. The soldier's letter, addressed to his wife on the morning of the landings, served as a poignant reminder of the personal sacrifices made by those who fought.

"I am deeply honoured to be part of proceedings on Southsea Common," William told the flag-waving crowd, adding that "we will always remember those who served." He explained that while Captain Bannerman was able to return home to his wife and sons the following April, many others never did. "Too many never returned. They remain in 'some corner of a foreign field that is forever England'," he said.

The official British commemoration for the 80th anniversary of D-Day will take place on Thursday at the British Normandy Memorial at Ver-sur-Mer, where King Charles will join French President Emmanuel Macron and Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. Prince William will attend additional events in Normandy, including a service hosted by Canada at Juno Beach and an international ceremony hosted by France at Omaha Beach, which will be attended by more than 25 heads of state.