Britain’s King Charles III and his wife Queen Camilla are on a state visit to France to underline the friendship between the United Kingdom and France.
On September 20, there was a grand ceremony at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris where French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte warmly welcomed Charles and Camilla amid great splendour.
The visit had been initially scheduled for March 26 – 29 but had to be postponed due to mass strikes and protests in France.
Charles and Camilla touched down just before 2pm, flying in on a privately chartered “baby Voyager” Airbus plane from Farnborough in southern England to Paris Orly airport. There, they received an official welcome on the red carpet from French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne, representing Macron and the French Government.
Earlier in the day, Macron posted a video on social media honouring the British monarch, stating: “You visited as a Prince, you return as a King. Your Majesty, welcome.”
After the visit to the Arc de Triomphe, the entourage headed for the Palace of Versailles for a star-studded banquet, attended by world-famous guests.
“It’s up to all of us to reinvigorate our friendship to meet the challenges of the 21st century,” Charles said in Versailles.
Macron called the visit “a sign of friendship and trust that we truly appreciate and that deeply touches us”.
Charles reportedly submitted a detailed set of culinary requirements for the evening’s gathering. A menu curated by Michelin-starred chefs Yannick Alléno, Anne-Sophie Pic, and Pierre Hermé was meticulously crafted and sent to London for the King’s approval.
As a result of these specifications, France’s iconic foie gras had to be excluded from the menu.
On September 21, Charles addressed Senators and members of the National Assembly, while Camilla and Brigitte Macron went to the Bibliothèque Nationale de France to launch a new Franco-British literary prize.
In what was the first time a member of the British Royal Family has spoken at the Senate Chamber, the King praised the “determination” and “alliance” between the two sides of the Channel, “more important than ever” in the wake of Russia’s “unjustified aggression” against Ukraine.
“Together, we stand by the Ukrainian people with resolute solidarity. Together, we are unwavering in our determination that Ukraine will prevail and that our cherished freedoms will prevail,” he said.
Charles also spoke about the climate, saying: “The greatest challenge of all [is] global warming, climate change and the catastrophic destruction of nature”. He referred to what he said was the “encouraging” action on the issue by governments, citizens and “increasingly” the private sector.
Later they went to visit sports groups, as France is hosting the current Rugby World Cup and preparing to host the Olympics next year. The royal visit will end on September 22, in Bordeaux.