The King and Queen Consort will make their first state visits to France and Germany, Buckingham Palace has confirmed.
Charles and Camilla will travel to the French capital Paris and then continue onwards to Berlin in Germany during a six-day visit which begins on March 26, ahead of the King’s coronation on May 6.
The choice of the two European nations and close allies is widely seen as an attempt to build post-Brexit bridges and an acknowledgement of the affection the late Queen Elizabeth II had for France.
Aspects of the trip reflect what are believed to be the wishes of the host countries to mark the historic visits of the nation’s new head of state.
The King will be the first British monarch to give a speech from France’s senate chamber, to senators and national assembly members, and the first UK sovereign to address German politicians from the Bundestag.
King Charles will travel to France and Germany this month on his first state visits to Britain’s monarchs, Buckingham Palace have announced
Charles and his wife Camilla will be in France from March 26 to March 29, and will join President Emmanuel Macron (right) for a ceremony of remembrance and wreath laying at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris
Charles and Camilla will be in France from March 26 to March 29, and will join President Emmanuel Macron for a ceremony of remembrance and wreath laying at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. The King will make an address at the French Senate, while Camilla and the French first lady Brigitte Macron will officially open the new Manet and Degas exhibition at the Musee d’Orsay.
The royal couple will then be guests of honour at a state banquet hosted by the Macrons at the Palace of Versailles, and will also pay a visit to Bordeaux in southwestern France.
While there, Charles will ‘witness first-hand the devastation caused by last summer’s wildfires’ on the outskirts of Bordeaux and visit an organic vineyard, the palace said.
The visit will take place shortly after a first trip to France by British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on March 10 for a bilateral summit.
The trip will mark the king’s 35th official visit to France, and 29th official visit to Germany.
His mother Queen Elizabeth II, accompanied by her husband Prince Philip, last undertook state visits to France and Germany in 2014 and 2015 respectively.
Elizabeth, who was a fluent French speaker, made five state visits to France during her reign, in addition to numerous private visits.
His Majesty King Charles holding a reception for Heads of State and overseas visitors at Buckingham Palace on September 18, 2022
Queen Elizabeth II was a committed Francophile and French government sources suggest that the state visit taking place before King Charles’s coronation shows that the country is a priority for him
Her first visit to France was in 1948 as the 22-year-old Princess Elizabeth.
In 1957, when she returned to France as queen, thousands lined the streets to cheer her as she travelled through the streets of the capital.
‘Look at our Parisians, how much they love you,’ president Rene Coty told her.
On her last state visit to France in 2014, she joined 1,800 World War II veterans and 18 heads of state and government, including the US and Russian presidents Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin, to mark the 70th anniversary of the Normandy landing.
A Macron aide has previously said the visit would illustrate the ‘age-old attachment of his country to ours, beyond Brexit.’
It would also be a sign of ‘family continuity, because Elizabeth II was a Francophile and a Francophone’, the aide told Le Parisien newspaper.
Macron himself paid tribute to Britain’s late monarch following her death in September 2022.
In a message to the British people, he recalled a ‘great head of state’ and a ‘unique example of devotion to her people, and a very close ally’.
‘With her, France and the United Kingdom shared not just an ‘entente cordiale’, but a warm, sincere and loyal partnership,’ he added.
Charles will head to Berlin on March 29, and undertake engagements there and in Brandenburg before heading to Hamburg, the palace added.
The royal couple are due to receive a ceremonial welcome by President Frank-Walter Steinmeier at the Brandenburg Gate and will be guests of honour at a state banquet, hosted by the President and his wife.
The king will also make a speech in the German federal parliament, the Bundestag, a first for a British monarch, and will also meet refugees recently arrived from Ukraine.