Angela Merkel snubs WWI ceremony in France as venue changed

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Mrs Merkel is said to be furious with the choice of Tuesday's venue by Mr Sarkozy, with Verdun the site of arguably the most controversial battles in military history, with the Germans in particular portrayed as acting like industrialised killers.

British officials have meanwhile been left wondering why an exclusively Franco-German battlefield was chosen, rather than an equally evocative site like the Somme.

Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall are due to be among those attending what was meant to be a moving ceremony of remembrance and reconciliation.

But rather than being held in Paris - as is traditional - the 90th anniversary events have been switched by President Nicolas Sarkozy to Fort Douaumont, on the Verdun battlefield in the north east of the country.

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