Queen Elizabeth II to visit Bergen-Belsen concentration camp during Germany state visit | News | DW | 18.05.2015
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Queen Elizabeth II to visit Bergen-Belsen concentration camp during Germany state visit

During a three-day tour of Germany next month, British Monarch Queen Elizabeth II will visit Bergen-Belsen - the only concentration camp to be liberated by the British. A state banquet with Angela Merkel is also planned.

The itinerary for the Queen's visit with her husband the Duke of Edinburgh between June 23 and 26 was published on Monday, detailing a visit to the German capital, Berlin, as well as to the western city and financial hub of Frankfurt.

"The program is designed to give as many people as possible the chance to see the Queen," British Ambassador Simon McDonald said on Monday.

First visit in 11 years

On arriving at Berlin Tegel on June 23, the British monarch will be welcomed by 21 gun salutes, before meeting German President Joachim Gauck at Palace Bellevue in the capital.

A boat ride down the Spree will be followed by a visit to the Queen's lecture - a series of presentations which was launched by the 89-year-old during her first state visit to former West Germany in 1965.

The second day of the Queen's visit will head west with a trip to Frankfurt where she and Prince Philip will visit St. Paul's Church. It was here that Germany's National Assembly first sat following the 1848 revolution. German fans of the British monarchy will later have the chance to catch a glimpse of the Queen in Frankfurt's town square.

British liberation

After beginning the final day of her visit with a short stop by Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, the Queen will travel with the Duke to the site of Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in the state of Lower-Saxony.

The royal couple will visit numerous memorials at the former Nazi camp, including one dedicated to Anne Frank, who became famous posthumously after her father published her diary detailing the family's years spent in hiding during the Nazi occupation.

The Queen's visit to Bergen-Belsen will come just weeks after Germany remembered the camp's 53,000 victims and the 70th anniversary of its liberationby British troops in April 1945.

Despite having received an invite from the state governor of Thuringia, there will be no visit to the town of Gotha, where Prince Albert, the Queen's great-great grandfather and husband to Queen Victoria, was born into the former Saxon duchy of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld.

The British monarch last visited Germany on a state visit in November 2004.

ksb/rc (AFP, dpa)

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