French President Emmanuel Macron laid on the royal treatment for King Charles III and Queen Camilla on the first day of their visit, whisking the pair through Paris for a wreath-laying ceremony before toasting the official trip in the banquet hall of Versailles.
This is the first official trip to France for King Charles III and Queen Camilla in their capacity as regents, and is a landmark occasion after the initial visit in March was postponed due to social unrest caused by Macron’s controversial pension reforms.
Now the British royals have finally arrived, landing on French soil on Wednesday 20th September for a three-day visit that will include stops in Paris and Bordeaux.
Upon their arrival, the King and Queen were escorted by Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne to the Arc de Triomphe in the French capital, where they enjoyed a fly-by from the Red Arrows and their French Air Force equivalents, La Patrouille Acrobatique de France.
The King and President then rekindled the Eternal Flame and laid a wreath on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier to honour the French and British lives lost in battle since World War I.
Queen Camilla went on to meet with representatives from local veteran organisations, the French Scout and Guide organisations and the British School of Paris.
A bilateral meeting then ensued at Macron’s official residence, the Elysée Palace, followed by a friendly walkabout to the residence of the British Ambassador in France, where, in a tradition started by the King’s late mother, Queen Elizabeth II, Macron and the King planted a tree in the grounds.
A state banquet at Versailles
Later the group headed to Versailles, one of the sites also visited by Elizabeth II on her first official visit to France in 1957, for a state dinner.
“Mr. President, in all of this we can rely on our firm friendship, which is renewed and reinvigorated with each new generation,” said King Charles, who made the majority of his speech at Versailles in French. “I would like, if you would allow me, to raise a toast to President and Madame Macron and to the French people, as well as to our Entente Cordiale – a sustainable alliance. Whatever lies ahead, may it endure, faithful and constant, for centuries to come.”
The dinner was a rather glitzy affair, with celebrities such as Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger, actor Hugh Grant, footballer Didier Drogba and actress Charlotte Gainsbourg in attendance.
On Thursday 21st September, Camilla will present a new French-British literary prize at the National Library of France alongside former teacher and now France’s First Lady, Brigitte Macron.
King Charles’ long-standing interest in the environment will also be highlighted, with an open discussion on biodiversity at the Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle in Paris.
A visit to an organic vineyard, Château Smith Haut Lafitte, near Bordeaux is on the cards for Friday 22nd September, the final day of their trip.
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Photo source: The Royal Family Official / Facebook