20, September 2023
The UK’s King Charles III starts a three-day state visit to France on Wednesday meant to highlight both nations’ friendship, after the trip was postponed in March amid widespread demonstrations against President Emmanuel Macron’s pension changes.
Charles and Queen Camilla were greeted by Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne at Paris-Orly airport, before heading to the city centre for a ceremony at the Arc de Triomphe in the presence of Macron and his wife, Brigitte.
Both nations’ hymns will be played during the ceremony before a review of French troops and a wreath laying at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier to “mark the shared sacrifices of the past and an enduring legacy of cooperation”, according to Buckingham Palace.
The jet fighters of the Patrouille de France and Britain’s Red Arrows, the acrobatic teams of the countries’ air forces, will fly above the monument.
The presidential and royal couples will then head by car to the presidential palace, parading on the Champs-Élysées avenue.
Macron and Charles will hold a bilateral meeting expected to cover topics including Russia’s war in Ukraine and the migration issue as Italy’s southern island of Lampedusa was in recent days overwhelmed by people setting off from Tunisia.
The visit “symbolizes the relationship of friendship and trust” between them since they both ”have in the past worked closely together to protect biodiversity and combat global warming”, the French presidency stressed.
A state dinner on Wednesday in the Hall of Mirrors of the Palace of Versailles in the presence of more than 150 guests will be one of the highlights of the visit.
On Thursday, Charles will address French lawmakers at the Senate, providing a new venue for the king to show off his language skills after he wowed his audience by switching seamlessly between German and English during a speech to Germany’s parliament in March
He will later rejoin Macron in front of Notre-Dame Cathedral to see the ongoing renovation work aimed at reopening the monument by the end of next year.
Charles and Macron will also both attend a reception for British and French business leaders about financing climate-related and biodiversity projects.
The king will end his trip on Friday with a stop in Bordeaux, home to a large British community. He will meet emergency workers and communities affected by the 2022 wildfires in the area and visit the Forêt Experimentale, or experimental forest, a project designed to monitor the impact of climate on urban woodlands.
He will also tour a vineyard, which has pioneered a sustainable approach to wine making.
Source: FRANCE 24