Home Europe King Charles Greeted in France with Pomp and Diplomacy on State Visit

King Charles Greeted in France with Pomp and Diplomacy on State Visit

Britain’s King Charles arrived in France for a three-day state visit, marking a significant effort to strengthen the bonds of friendship and diplomacy between the United Kingdom and France. The royal visit, hosted by President Emmanuel Macron, aims to mend relations that have faced challenges in recent years. King Charles and his wife, Queen Camilla, received a warm welcome as they embarked on their visit to the picturesque nation. The grandeur of the occasion was evident when the royal couple were honoured as guests of distinction at a lavish state dinner held at the opulent 17th-century Versailles palace. Dishes including blue lobster and a selection of French and English cheeses adorned the menu, symbolizing the unity of these two historic nations.

In a heartfelt toast, President Macron spoke of the enduring connection between France and the United Kingdom: “Despite Brexit and because our ties are so old, I know that we will continue to write together part of our continent’s history.” More than 150 distinguished guests attended the banquet, including British actor Hugh Grant, rock legend Mick Jagger, French business magnate Bernard Arnault, and former Arsenal football coach Arsene Wenger.

The visit commenced with King Charles and Queen Camilla’s arrival at Paris’ Orly airport, where they were warmly greeted by French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne. The royal couple then proceeded to a solemn ceremony at the iconic Arc de Triomphe, where they paid homage to the French and British soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice during two world wars. An enthralling moment occurred as Charles and Macron drove down the famous Champs-Elysees avenue in a French DS car, acknowledging the enthusiastic crowds that had gathered along the tree-lined boulevard. At one point, the two leaders stood through the open roof of the car, waving to the cheering onlookers.

On the agenda for Thursday was a visit to the Notre-Dame Cathedral, where King Charles, Queen Camilla, President Macron, and his wife Brigitte will witness ongoing restoration efforts following a devastating fire in 2019. The royal couple will then head to the southwestern city of Bordeaux on Friday, where they will tour an organic vineyard, underscoring the importance of sustainable agriculture and environmental stewardship.

“We must reinvigorate our friendship so that it is up to the challenges of the 21st century,” Charles emphasized in a toast during the banquet. King Charles had initially hoped for a state visit to France as his first official trip as king, but it was postponed in March due to protests in France over pension reforms. Nevertheless, on their second attempt to meet in France, both leaders aim to strengthen their relationship, which has already been bolstered by their shared interest in projects like the Notre-Dame restoration, climate initiatives, and heritage preservation.

Camilla, King Charles’s second wife after the tragic loss of Princess Diana in 1997, will play a part in launching a new book prize in Paris alongside the French president’s wife, Brigitte Macron. The warm exchanges, visits to iconic sites, and symbolic gestures throughout the visit come after several tense years marked by the complexities of Brexit and disagreements on various issues.