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King Charles III’s state visit postponed amid France pensions unrest

His first state visit as king was pushed back after unions announced fresh strikes and protests

The first state visit will now be to Germany Pic: I T S / Shutterstock

King Charles III’s visit to France was postponed on Friday (March 24).

It was put back amid strikes and protests against the French government’s controversial pension reforms. 

The trip, his first official state visit abroad since becoming king last year, had been scheduled from Sunday to Wednesday (March 26-29).

It was to include a stop in Bordeaux, the scene of protests on Thursday that culminated in the door of the city hall being set ablaze.

“Given yesterday's announcement of a new national day of action against pension reform on Tuesday, March 28 in France, the visit of King Charles III, initially scheduled for March 26 to 29 in our country, will be postponed,” said the Élysée in a statement.

“This decision was taken by the French and British governments, after a telephone exchange between the President of the Republic and the King this morning, in order to be able to welcome His Majesty King Charles III under conditions which correspond to our relationship of friendship. 

“This State visit will be rescheduled as soon as possible.”

Charles III will still travel to Germany later in the week as planned - instead making this his first state visit as king - and will reschedule his trip to France “as soon as dates can be found”, according to a statement from Buckingham Palace. 

Read also: Trains, planes, fuel: Dates and sectors of upcoming strikes in France

After arriving in France on Sunday, the King and Queen-Consort Camilla were scheduled to spend time with Emmanuel and Brigitte Macron at the Élysée in Paris, as well as enjoy a state banquet at Versailles.

They also planned to lay commemorative wreaths at the Arc de Triomphe and inaugurate exhibitions at the musée d’Orsay.

They were then scheduled to continue onto Bordeaux to visit an organic vineyard, attend the opening of Bordeaux’s new British consulate and travel on the city’s tram network, but these plans were already placed in doubt by a union refusal to drive trams bearing the British royals

Both parties announced the cancellation of the visit on Friday morning. 

A spokesperson for the British Ambassador to Paris said “this decision was taken with the agreement of all parties after the French President asked the British government to postpone the visit”.

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