King Charles III has approved a request by an airport in the north of France to change its name in honour of his mother.
Officials from Touquet-Côte d'Opale Airport, near Calais, in Nord, requested approval from the King last September and the site will now be known as l'Aéroport International Elizabeth II du Touquet-Paris-Plage.
The mayor of Le Touquet previously said that the name change is in recognition of the town being “the most British of French resorts”.
Links past and present
The airport was an early destination for cross-channel commercial flights in the 1920s when the resort with its beach and casino were prized by Parisian high society and British aristocrats alike.
The Queen’s uncle, King Edward VIII, was a frequent visitor during this period, at times accompanied by his young niece. Indeed, the mairie has not forgotten this detail, saying the name change is “a homage to the great Queen and to her uncle who loved France”.
In the 1950s, the airport was briefly France’s third greatest in terms of passenger use behind only Paris Orly and Nice.
Today, however, in 2022 it only saw a modest 21,558 passengers transit through, a far cry from the 72,000,000 of Paris Charles de Gaule. Only one airline, LyddAir currently operates there with a charter service to East Sussex and Kent.
From September 3, Le Touquet will also host the England Rugby Team, which has selected the seaside town as its base camp for the 2023 Rugby World Cup, running from September 8 to October 28. French President Emmanual Macron and his wife own a holiday home in the town.
The name change is a singular honour as this is to be the only international airport in France named after a monarch.