Queen Elizabeth is not amused.
As Dorothy Parker might have said, how can you tell? Kidding.
Indeed, she is decidedly displeased, angry even, that she was not invited to join President Obama and France’s president, Nicolas Sarkozy, next week at commemorations of the 65th anniversary of the D-Day landings in Normandy, according to reports published in Britain’s mass-circulation tabloid newspapers on Wednesday. Pointedly, Buckingham Palace did not deny the reports.
The queen, who is 83, is the only living head of state who served in uniform during World War II. As Elizabeth Windsor, service number 230873, she volunteered as a subaltern in the Women’s Auxiliary Territorial Service, training as a driver and a mechanic. Eventually, she drove military trucks in support roles in England.
While serving, she met the supreme Allied commander for the D-Day landings, Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, and developed a fondness for him, according to several biographies. This prompted Queen Elizabeth, who was crowned in June 1953, to say in later years that he was the American president with whom she felt most at ease.
How the queen came to be excluded has become entangled in a thicket of diplomatic missteps, or misunderstandings, depending on whether the account is given in London or Paris. The French have said officially that they regard the commemorations in the American sector of the landings as “primarily a Franco-American ceremony,” and that it was up to the British to decide who should represent Britain — in other words, that Mr. Brown was at fault for not seeking an invitation for the queen.
He did it. As if Brown needs any more problems.
In Britain, commentators have suggested that Mr. Sarkozy did not want to share the telegenic moment when he hosts Mr. Obama. This was all the more so, the British commentators have said, because the queen’s presence might risk turning the occasion into a celebration of the Anglo-American alliance, whose troops carried out the landings, losing about 37,000 men in the battle for Normandy.
Sarko never has met a camera he didn't like.