History from across the centuries, Royalty from the 21st

Sat 16th December, 2017
 

William & Kate meet Bataclan survivors, view Impressionist art & pose at Eiffel Tower #RoyalVisitParis

On the second and last day of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s visit to Paris, the couple undertook a number of engagements, including meeting with survivors of the Bataclan terrorist attack, visiting the Musee d’Orleans before seeing a rugby programme in front of the iconic Eiffel Tower.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have a go at rugby training with local school children at the Trocadero DURING #RoyalVisitParis. Picture by Stephen Lock / i-Images

William and Catherine arrived in Paris yesterday afternoon, where they met with President Hollande before attending a glamorous gala dinner.

This morning, the Duke and Duchess went to Les Invalides to see how the site supports veterans with rehabilitation programmes.

Les Invalides is a complex of buildings featuring museums and monuments on the 7th arrondissement (neighbourhood/area) of the city. It is dedicated to the military history and accomplishments of the French nation, and includes a hospital and retirement home for veterans. It was created in 1670 by King Louis XIV to care for veterans and those injured whilst fighting for France, and now houses around 80 pensioners, with a cutting-edge prosthetic department helping wounded servicemen and women.

William and Kate meet WWII veterans at Les Invalides (Kensington Palace)

The Royal guests spoke to a number of WWII veterans, including one 101-year-old man who escaped the Nazis three times. Colonel Jean Camus, 100, and Chief Petty Officer Georges Zwang, 101, kissed the Duchess’ hand to greet her.

Col Camus fought in France in 1939-40, was taken prisoner by the Germans, escaped, joined the French resistance and escaped twice after being captured by Vichy forces and the Germans. He managed to reach London in 1943 and served as an intelligence officer in the Central Bureau of Intelligence and Operations, before returning to France in August 1944 for the end of the war.

The veteran joked: “I spent most of my life in jail. I could write a book.”

The Duke replied: “You should, it would be a bestseller.”

Spending a while with the veterans, hearing their stories of bravery, the couple moved on to the prosthetics room. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge met Sergeant Phillippe, who was training in the French army as a dog handler when he had motorcycle accident leaving him with one prosthetic leg.

Phillippe took part in Prince Harry’s Invictus Games, where the Prince presented him with a medal. William said: “You are a huge inspiration for all the other guys.”

The Duke and Duchess were shown an ornate book, explaining how Charles II, King of England, wrote to Louis XIV to ask him to share with him the plan about the creation of the hospital. It went on to inspire the foundation of the Royal Chelsea Hospital.

Similar to tours abroad before, William and Kate spoke with first response teams who were involved in the aftermath of the Bataclan and Nice terrorist attacks of 2016, as well as those who survived.

Jessica Bambal Akan, 25, was shot seven times in the leg, hip and back as she dined with friends at La Belle Equipe restaurant in Paris, while a 28-year-old fireman who wished to be known only as Kevin, was a concert-goer at the Bataclan when he was shot in the leg.

Prince William said to them: “We think you are very strong and very brave, you’ve made amazing progress.”

During this part of the visit, the Royals were informed of the incident at Orlay airport, where a man attempted to grab a soldier’s gun; he was shot. Reports seem to state he was a radicalised attacker.

Jessica spent her time recovering learning Italian; she hopes to work in the fashion industry, and commented on Catherine’s Chanel coat and bag.

At the Musée d’Orsay, William and Catherine toured the impressionist gallery. They had asked to see one some of Claude Monet’s water lilies paintings from 1904, and were given information about the art by the curator.

The piece will go on loan to the Tate Britain later this year as part of an exhibition called: “The Impressionists in London”.

Monet, Manet, Degas, Renoir, Cezanne, Gaugin and Van Gogh are the main features of the museum, dating from 1848 to 1914. The building used to be a railway station and the numerous clocks pay homage to its history.

The Duchess of Cambridge studied History of Art at university, and seemed interested in Edouard Manet’s Olympia, a nude painted in 1863, where she asked lots of questions.

It was then to the Trocadéro, to speak with young French rugby players from local schools taking part. The couple watched the children perform drills near the Eiffel Tower, and were roped in to giving a few passes.

They then posed for photos in front of the iconic landmark alone, before being joined by children involved in British Council programmes.

William and Kate will attend the France vs Wales rugby match later, as patron of the Welsh RFU, before heading back to London.

William and Kate at the Eiffel Tower

Written by

<p>Victoria has a passion for British history and Constitutional Monarchy, hence her reasons for founding The Crown Chronicles. Her specialism is the Early Modern era, with particular emphasis on the Tudor and Stuart dynasties. She is also a keen reader (usually something historical), baker and shopper. Her motto is to have a full bookcase, but a fuller wardrobe. </p> <p>Miss Howard also works closely with the British Monarchist Foundation as their Press Secretary and Spokesman.</p>

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