Entente royale! King’s first state visit is to France
THE King will become the first British monarch in history to address the French senate later this month as part of a postBrexit charm offensive.
Both France and Germany are rolling out the red carpet after the Government asked Charles and Camilla to use the first state visit of their reign to forge closer relationships in Europe.
There is some surprise their first foreign tour since the accession is not to a Commonwealth partner or a realm where the King is still head of state.
But Whitehall sources last night made clear the Government sees Europe as an immediate priority, particularly in light of the war in Ukraine.
They are keen to use the King and Queen Consort’s power of ‘soft diplomacy’ to build on the UK’s strong historic ties with some of its closest neighbours. Buckingham Palace announced that the visit will take place from March 26 to 31.
Their French and German hosts – who offered formal invitations for the royals to visit – are holding two glittering state banquets, in the Chateau
‘Marking our shared histories and values’
de Versailles and the Schloss Bellevue. The trip will also see three historic royal firsts: the King’s address from the floor in the senate in Paris, a second speech to the German Bundestag and, finally, he and his wife will be honoured with the first ceremonial welcome of any visiting head of state in history to the Brandenburg Gate.
A Palace spokesman emphasised the ‘enduring legacy of cooperation and reconciliation’ and how the visit marks ‘our shared histories, culture and values’. Another royal source said: ‘The atmosphere in which this has been planned has been extraordinarily positive.’
Charles, 74, and Camilla, 75, will have a punishing schedule, packing in 30 engagements in five cities over six days, beginning in France.
In Paris, Their Majesties will join President Emmanuel Macron and his wife, Brigitte, for a ceremony at the Arc de Triomphe. In Germany, the couple will be welcomed by President FrankWalter Steinmeier and his wife, Elke.