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During the commemoration, Mr. Sarkozy and Charles jointly laid wreaths at the statues of King George VI, the wartime monarch, and his wife Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother.

Some 200 French veterans of the Resistance and World War II boarded a special Eurostar train in Paris Friday to join ceremonies in London. A portrait of de Gaulle was emblazoned on the train.

“We were but a group of determined and courageous men. But in fact it was Gen. de Gaulle who changed the fate of France and not us,” said veteran Emile Chaline, 78, a vice admiral under de Gaulle.

Another veteran, 95-year-old George Zwang, said, “We have to think about those who aren’t here, those we left behind.”

In talks over a lunch of Cornish sea bass and French wine, Mr. Cameron and Mr. Sarkozy discussed Europe’s turbulent economies and next week’s Group of 20 and Group of 8 summits in Canada.

Mr. Cameron offered his condolences over deaths in southeastern France following flash floods, and discussed Afghanistan and the World Cup, the British leader’s office said.

“The prime minister and the president had an opportunity to swap notes on the progress of their respective teams in the World Cup,” Mr. Cameron’s office confirmed in a statement.

Other commemorations are planned Friday across France, and include the projection of images from World War II onto the facade of Paris’ Invalides, the gold-domed complex where Napoleon is buried.

Mr. Sarkozy is also scheduled to take part in a ceremony at the Mont Valerien memorial to the French Resistance, close to Paris.

Associated Press Writers Angela Charlton and Jenny Barchfield in Paris contributed to this story.