The Mercury News
King Charles going to France, Germany for first state visits
LONDON >> King Charles III and Camilla, the queen consort, will travel to France and Germany this month, making their first state visits since Charles ascended to the throne in September, Buckingham Palace said on Friday.
“The visit will celebrate Britain's relationship with France and Germany, marking our shared histories, culture and values,” said a statement from the palace. “It will also provide an opportunity to look forwards and demonstrate the many ways the U.K. is working in partnership with France and Germany, whether that be to tackle climate change; respond to the conflict in Ukraine; seize trade and investment opportunities or share the best of our arts and culture.”
In choosing France and Germany, the two largest economies of the European Union, for his first official visits, King Charles is signaling Britain's intention to strengthen ties after Brexit negotiations sowed divisions.
For the French portion of the trip, which begins March 26, the royal couple will join President Emmanuel Macron and his wife, Brigitte, in Paris for a ceremony of remembrance and wreath laying at the Arc de Triomphe. The king and queen consort will also attend a state banquet in their honor at the Palace of Versailles.
In addition, Queen Camilla and Brigitte Macron will open the new Edouard Manet and Edgar Degas exhibition at the Musee d'Orsay. From Paris, Charles and Camilla will travel to Bordeaux, where they will see the devastation caused by last summer's wildfires.
They will also tour an organic vineyard known for its sustainable approach to winemaking.
Charles and Camilla will then travel to Germany for a three-day visit to Berlin and Hamburg. They will attend a state banquet, hosted by President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and his wife, Elke Budenbender, at Bellevue Palace, the presidential residence in Berlin.
Charles will address the Bundestag, the German parliament, and he will meet refugees who have recently arrived from Ukraine. Camilla and Budenbender will visit the Komische Oper in Berlin, to hear about the opera company's outreach projects.
Britain's constitutional monarch traditionally conducts meetings with other heads of state to build relations, but stays out of politics. Charles was criticized this week when he met the European Commission president, Ursula von der Leyen, for tea at Windsor Castle, minutes after she and Prime Minister Rishi Sunak presented a landmark agreement to end a dispute over post-Brexit trade rules for Northern Ireland.