Charles III in Paris for his first state visit to

Charles III in Paris for his first state visit to France

After a first missed meeting six months ago, King Charles III began. on Wednesday made a three-day state visit to France marked by solemnity and pomp to celebrate the revival of Franco-British friendship after the turmoil of Brexit.

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The royal plane, painted in the colors of the Union Jack, landed at Paris’ Orly Airport at around 2pm (12pm GMT), where Charles III, 74, and Camilla, 76, dressed in pink and wearing a matching hat that looks like a beret, were welcomed by Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne.

Charles III and Camilla are now expected at 2:45 p.m. (12:45 GMT) by French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte at the Arc de Triomphe for a ceremony to rekindle the flame at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, a descent over the Champs-Elysees. The Patrouille de France and the Red Arrows, the Royal Air Force’s acrobatic patrol, will fly together through the Parisian skies.

The King and the President will then take the “most famous avenue in the world” aboard a Citröen DS7 convertible, accompanied by 136 horses of the Republican Guard, to reach the Elysée Palace, where they will meet in person. -Head.

In March the visit of Charles III had to take place. in France, which was supposed to have been his first visit abroad as king, was canceled at the last minute because of violent demonstrations against pension reform in France. He finally went to Berlin.

Six months later, calm has returned and it is time again for the “Entente Cordiale”, the Franco-British harmony, the 120th anniversary of which will be celebrated in April.

At a summit in March, Emmanuel Macron and Prime Minister Rishi Sunak upended years of disagreement over Brexit, fisheries and migrants. France, which beheaded its last king in 1793, pulled out all the stops for this great reunion.

“Welcome, Your Majesty!” said Emmanuel Macron on X (ex-Twitter) on Wednesday morning. “You came as a prince, you come back as a king,” he added in a message accompanied by a video of the crown prince’s previous visits to France.

In the footsteps of Elizabeth II

Another highlight of the visit was the state dinner on Wednesday evening in Versailles, a tribute to the King’s mother, Elizabeth II, who was invited to lunch in the same sumptuous setting in 1957 and returned to Versailles in 1972.

The king is receptive to the idea of ​​“following in his mother’s footsteps,” emphasizes the Elysée Palace. He will also go to the flower market in Paris on Thursday, which Elizabeth II loved and was renamed after her in 2014.

In Versailles, symbol of the absolute monarchy of the “Sun King” Louis royal table made of Sèvres porcelain.

Mick Jagger and Hugh Grant

Guests included Rolling Stones singer Mick Jagger, actors Hugh Grant, Charlotte Gainsbourg and Emma Mackey, writer Ken Follett and former football coach Arsène Wenger.

With the invitation of Charles III. After Versailles, Emmanuel Macron follows in the footsteps of General de Gaulle, who made the palace a real diplomatic calling card, and sends a strong signal to the United Kingdom.

Whether in 1957, a year after the Suez Canal Crisis, in 1972, when the United Kingdom joined the European Economic Community (EEC), or in 2023: “Every time we wanted to honor a privileged relationship with England, there was a reception in Versailles,” emphasizes historian Fabien Oppermann.

The king, seeking to establish his image internationally a year after ascending to the throne, will begin the most political part of his visit on Thursday with a speech from the podium of the French Senate, a first for a British ruler.

He will also highlight an issue close to his heart, the environment, at a round table at the National Museum of Natural History and then on Friday in Bordeaux, in a region hit hard by fires in 2022 and home to many British residents.

President Macron will also present him with an original copy of “Racines du ciel” by Romain Gary, whose central theme is the protection of the planet and elephants in Africa.

For the occasion, 8,000 police and gendarmes will be mobilized on Wednesday, and up to 12,000 on Friday, when the King’s visit coincides with that of Pope Francis in Marseille.