Charles III chooses France for his first state visit abroad as king

King Charles and the Queen Consort, Camilla will spend time in Paris and Versailles, as well as Bordeaux, at the end of March

King Charles (pictured here on a previous visit, in 2015) will be making his 35th official visit to France
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King Charles will visit France at the end of the month on his first state visit overseas since succeeding Queen Elizabeth II.

The King and Queen Consort will spend several days in France, visiting Paris and Bordeaux, from March 26-29, the British Embassy in Paris confirmed in a briefing that The Connexion attended today. They will then visit Germany.

The fact France has been prioritised before the King is even crowned is widely seen as a positive gesture towards the country.

The visit, the King’s 35th official visit to France, will come shortly after the bilateral UK/France summit which is scheduled between UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and French President Emmanuel Macron next Friday, March 10.

President Macron had invited the King to visit at his convenience following the death of Queen Elizabeth last year.

Read more: Macron-Sunak summit is key to new ‘entente’ says British Ambassador

Key moments of the visit

Highlights announced so far include the following:

  • On Monday March 27 the royal couple will meet President Macron and the First Lady for a commemorative ceremony and laying of wreaths at the Arc de Triomphe, before coming down the Champs-Elysées to the Elysée Palace.
  • At the Elysée, the King will have a private meeting with the president before going to the Senate where he will meet, and address, the senators and the MPs.
  • At the same time Mrs Macron and the Queen Consort will inaugurate a new Manet and Dégas exhibition at the musée d’Orsay.
  • The couple will attend a state banquet offered by the president and Mrs Macron at the Château de Versailles.
  • On Tuesday March 28 the couple will go to Bordeaux due to its high number of British residents and also to mark the opening of a new permanent home for the British consulate in the city centre (it has been in a temporary location on the edge of the city for four years). They will also be meeting members of the local Franco-British community.
  • They will visit the outskirts of the city to see the damage caused by forest fires last year. The emergency services will explain how they fought the fires and they will hear from community members about the devastating effects.
  • The couple will visit an organic vineyard which was the first to adopt a sustainable approach to wine production, notably through producing its own solar energy and capturing and transforming emissions of carbon dioxide.
  • They will return to Paris before leaving for Germany on Wednesday 29.

Visit will mark countries’ common culture and values

An Embassy spokesman said that it would be “a historic visit”.

“It will celebrate the relationship of the UK with France and Germany, marking our common history, culture and values,” he said.

“It is also an occasion to look towards the future and to show the many ways in which our countries work in partnership, whether it is to fight against climate change, respond to the conflict in Ukraine, seize opportunities for trade and investment, or share the best of our arts and our culture.

“As well as underlining the strength of the bilateral relationship between the UK and France and Germany, the visits of their Majesties will include engagements underlining the importance of sustainable development and of community, key themes that have been adopted by the citizens of all our countries.

“It will also be a chance for them to reflect on the sacrifices and the challenges of our shared past, which have given birth to a lasting legacy of cooperation and reconciliation.”

The King and the Queen Consort were last in France in 2019, for a ceremony in Bayeux, on the 75th anniversary of the Normandy Landings.

The then Prince Charles also visited Nice in 2018, when he reflected on his family’s long appreciation for the Riviera city, dating back to Queen Victoria and was awarded honorary niçois citizenship.

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