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The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge went to the Warsaw Rising Museum today to pay their respects to the estimated 200,000 Poles who died in an ill-fated 63-day rebellion against Nazi occupation in 1944.
William and Kate joined Polish President Andrzej Duda and his wife Agata on a tour of the museum, which documents the Polish resistance Home Army’s brave fight between August 1 and October 2, 1944 to try to liberate the capital.
The Warsaw Rising ended in failure after Soviet forces camped outside the capital refused to intervene, waiting to see the anti-communist resistance movement eliminated before they moved in on the Nazis.
The Royal couple made the visit after they went on a walkabout outside the presidential palace, during which they were greeted by rapturous applause by screaming fans.
William and Kate are greeted by crowds in Warsaw
William and the President lit candles beneath a bell on a wall of remembrance listing all those who perished in the uprising.
They and their wives also stopped to look at the names of 34 British servicemen – a Union flag emblem beside each one – who were shot down and died trying to fly supplies into the resistance fighters.
The royal couple put their hands on a pulsating wall designed to represent the heartbeat of Warsaw that the Nazis could not stop.
They also met four Polish Second World War veterans, two of whom fought in the uprising, and another two who escaped from Poland to join Allied forces and take part in military campaigns.
Among them was Colonel Edmund Brzozowski, 98, who joined the Polish resistance and was captured by Stalin’s forces early in the war and imprisoned in Russia.
When the Soviet Union changed sides, he was allowed to join up with British forces in the Middle East and ended up fighting with the Polish 2nd Corps at Monte Cassino.
The Colonel, who has a son in London, told the Duchess about his lifetime of adventure but was cool about meeting royalty.
Asked if it had been a good experience to meet Kate, he pulled a face and replied: “Not especially.”
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