Prince Charles on Sunday unveiled a monument commemorating the 65th anniversary of the Battle of Britain, in which British pilots denied Nazi Germany air superiority over Britain.
The epic conflict between the Royal Air Force and the Luftwaffe, which lasted four months in 1940, thwarted Hitler's plans to invade Britain and was one of the major engagements of the World War II. "In June 1940, there seemed little or no chance that the Luftwaffe could be stopped," Charles said at a ceremony in central London. "By late 1940, it had become clear that, incredibly, the RAF had overcome quite overwhelming odds, making the invasion of Britain impossible. "If the few had failed in their mighty struggle, the consequences for this nation would have been quite unthinkable," the prince added.
Charles then unveiled a monument consisting of two bronze friezes set in an 82-foot (25-meter) granite structure and featuring a plaque bearing the names of the nearly 3,000 RAF pilots who flew in the battle. Around 550 of them died in the conflict.
One frieze depicts scenes of battle, while the other focuses on how the people of London coped while the fighting raged overhead. Some 70 of the surviving RAF pilots attended Sunday's ceremony at the Victoria Embankment, on the north bank of the River Thames. Charles, wearing a military dress uniform, was flanked by his wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, who wore a somber navy blue suit and a matching broad-brimmed hat with feather trimming, AP reports.