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Royals at Battle of Britain service

A fly past by Second World War fighter planes has led the 70th anniversary celebrations of the Battle of Britain.

A Spitfire and a Hurricane flew above Westminster Abbey to commemorate one of the most pivotal battles in recent British military history.

Earlier, veterans from the decisive battle rubbed shoulders with royalty and senior politicians at a thanksgiving service in the Abbey.

Prince William, fresh from graduating as a Search and Rescue Force helicopter pilot, attended the event with his father, the Prince of Wales, and the Duchess of Cornwall.

The ceremony celebrates the 70th anniversary of the pivotal Second World War battle in which Britain's pilots defeated the Nazi threat in the skies of southern England.

The Battle of Britain began as Hitler turned his attention across the Channel after defeating the French.

Sir Stephen Dalton, Chief of Air Staff, said winning the Battle of Britain was vital to the overall outcome of the war.

Speaking before the service he said: "The importance of today is of course to recognise the veterans who are still here and all those who gave their lives to ensure that the Battle of Britain was won and the freedom of this country was assured.

"Unless we had control of the skies over Britain we could not build up the forces ready to liberate Europe later on.

"Of course that is entirely relevant today, without the freedom of the skies in Afghanistan it is well recognised that there would need to be 10 times the number of soldiers and marines on the ground to achieve the same effect."


From Belfast Telegraph