The programme has been revealed for this month’s state visit to France by the UK's King Charles and Queen Camilla.
The itinerary unveiled today by the British Embassy for the visit on September 20-22 to Paris and Bordeaux is similar to that which was previously planned in March but which was cancelled due to security concerns.
France had been selected as the country for the royal couple’s first state visit abroad, with Germany as a second leg, but in the event only the German visit took place in the spring.
Today, however, British Ambassador Dame Menna Rawlings hailed the fact that the French visit has been rearranged so soon.
One new element this time will be the launch of a new Franco-British literary prize, agreed on in principle at the 36th France-UK summit on March 10 among other plans to forge closer cultural links.
This month’s royal visit will also have a greater focus on sport, as it falls during the Rugby World Cup, with the royals set to meet sports groups and stars.
As previously, Bordeaux was picked along with Paris due to the west-coast city’s long historic links with the UK and the substantial British population in the wider Nouvelle-Aquitaine region, estimated to be 27% of British residents in France.
Dame Menna said: “We are all immensely proud and privileged to be able to welcome Their Majesties to France, and I’m particularly happy that we have managed to re-establish the visit so quickly – six months – which shows their determination to do it as soon as possible. It shows the importance of the relationship between the UK and France and the strong affinity of His Majesty with France.
“I would also like to thank our French counterparts at the Elysée and Quai d’Orsay and the local authorities in Paris and Bordeaux who have worked with us to put together the different parts of the programme and all the logistics related to it.”
The visit will include:
- The King and Queen will meet President Macron and Mrs Macron for a commemorative ceremony and laying wreaths at the Arc du Triomphe
- The King will have a bilateral meeting with President Macron at the Elysée Palace.
- A state banquet will be held at the Château de Versailles.
- The royal couple will meet with community sports groups and sports stars to highlight the benefits of sport for young people as France hosts the Rugby World Cup.
- The King will address French senators and MPs in the French Senate.
- The Queen and Mrs Macron will launch a new Franco-British literary prize at the Bibliothèque nationale de France.
- The Queen and President Macron will attend a sustainable development reception for British and French business leaders to learn more about their investment plans to protect biodiversity and address climate change.
- The Queen will meet with emergency services and communities affected by the Bordeaux wildfires of 2022 at the Experimental Forest, a site designed to monitor the responses of urban forests to climate change
- The King and Queen will meet British and French military personnel to find out more about defence collaboration between the two nations
- They will attend an event linked to the launch of the UK’s new ‘Great in France’ campaign this month, which will showcase British and French businesses and allow the royal couple to meet members of the town's French and British communities
- They will visit an organic vineyard
More information on the UK's ‘Great in France’ campaign, promoting UK-France links, will be available later this month through the British Embassy’s social media including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, as well as via ‘pop-up’ stands at various locations around France.