On Wednesday, Nov. 6, the future king of the United Kingdom greeted South Korean president Park Geun-hye at a ground-breaking ceremony revealinged the design for the Korean War memorial in London. While William met informally with President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama during their 2011 State visit to London, his meeting with South Korea’s first female president marked his first official time performing State duties typically handled by Queen Elizabeth II.
The Korean War, which spanned the years of 1950 to 1953, was between what we now know as South Korea, backed by the United Nations, United States, and Britain, and North Korea, which was then supported by the Commonwealth of China. Per London’s Express, 85,000 British servicemen fought in support of South Korea and over 1,000 died.
“This memorial will remind future generations of the remarkable fruits of British friendship which will forever be etched in the hearts of the Korean people,” President Geun-hye told the paper.
William, said it was “an honor to be here,” adding, “It’s the least I could do. It’s been a good opportunity for me to catch up and learn a bit more about the war.”
A British veteran of the war, 82-year-old Tommy Clough, spoke with the papers about his interactions with the 31-year-old prince. “When he found out I was a prisoner of war, he asked about the conditions in the camp and about the climate,” he said. “It means a great deal to have the future king of England here.”
The actual memorial isn’t expected to be completed until summer 2014, but just breaking the ground alone meant a lot to many. “It means everything to have this,” one veteran said. “So many people don’t know about the war. It came too soon after the end of World War Two and the country had had enough of war.”
Makes sense. Later in the evening Queen Elizabeth II did take back her royal role. She,Prince Philip and Prince Andrew hosted President Geun-hye at a Buckingham Palace banquet.
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