UK

D-Day Memorial: Queen Edges Down The Steps With Help From Obama, But Putin Looks Away

06/06/2014 17:34 BST | Updated 06/06/2014 20:59 BST

Gazing off into the distance, Vladimir Putin looks like he hasn't clocked, or deliberately doesn't want to clock, the 88-year-old woman gingerly attempting to edge her way down the stairs next to him. Could it be to do with who her son is?

As world leaders lined up for a photocall at Benouville Castle in Normandy after a lunch to mark the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings, Putin was conveniently separated from the Queen and from US President Barack Obama by a strategically placed Queen Margrethe of Denmark.

But as the world leaders descended the steps, the Queen looked a little on edge, and US President Obama and New Zealand's Governor-General Jerry Mateparae jumped in to guide Her Majesty down the steps.

queen putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin stands at right as US President Barack Obama, left, and New Zealand's Governor-General Jerry Mateparae guide Britain's Queen Elizabeth II

putin queen

The Queen was having some trouble on the stairs

But Putin continued to stare straight ahead.

There is a frostiness between the Kremlin and Buckingham Palace following the Prince of Wales' recent remarks about the Russian president.

He reportedly criticised Putin while speaking to a woman during his recent tour of Canada, comparing the Russian leader with Adolf Hitler after she told him how she fled Nazi persecution.

There had been speculation that a potentially awkward encounter might occur between the Prince of Wales himself and Putin.

Live Pictures, Tweets And Stories As The World Remembers The Sacrifice

The Financial Times' D-Day Coverage Was Fantastically British (PHOTO)

11 Striking Images That Bring The Past And Present Together

But the two men did not meet at the large VIP stand on the beach as the prince arrived after the Russian leader and, in what might be seen as conciliatory move, Putin lightly applauded as Charles walked up to meet French President Francois Hollande.

President Francois Hollande of France hosted the main memorial event on the very beach stormed by British troops. The French premier sat with the Queen on his right, and the same row as German chancellor Angela Merkel.

Seated directly behind the leading dignitaries, which included Putin, were other national figures including the Duke of Edinburgh, and the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall.

putin obama

Putin's reaction to being booed by the crowd

Later, Putin appeared under no illusions about the crowd reception to expect at the D-Day anniversary celebrations, after his popularity in Europe plummeted during the Ukraine crisis.

The crowd cheered wildly when the screen projected an image of Obama but suddenly boos melodramatically when it cuts to split screen with his Russian counterpart.

Obama shoots Putin a half smile - to which Putin does the same and then nods, as if to say 'yep'.