The King has paid tribute to the sacrifices made by allied forces on the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Monte Cassino.

Charles called for reflection on the courage of the men and women whose actions in central Italy enabled the landings in Normandy a few weeks later.

The human and material cost of the battle was high.

The King’s message, which was posted on the Royal Family’s X account in both English and Italian, said: “Eighty years ago, the Battle of Monte Cassino concluded with an Allied victory which opened the Road to Rome and marked the beginning of the end for the occupation of Italy.

“Let us pause to reflect on the immense sacrifices made by so many for the cause of freedom in Europe – perhaps ever more poignant today.”

The King continued: “Let us remember all those who fought in the campaign, including the lives of the Commonwealth personnel who never returned home and lie, or are remembered, in the Cassino War Cemetery. And let us also recall the hardships, service and suffering of the Italian civilian population during this period.

“Coming together to honour the fallen on this hallowed ground, reminds us that the rights and freedoms we enjoy today were won at a great cost, and bring with them great responsibilities for our generations and those yet unborn.

“Such sacrifice can never be forgotten. On behalf of my wife and myself, I send special warmest wishes and prayers on this solemn occasion of remembrance and commemoration.”