King Charles III begins today his first state trip as monarch to Paris, a city full of memories and meaning in his life.
It is not only because it was there that the tragic death of Princess Diana occurred, whose body he himself was in charge of repatriating to the United Kingdom.
Paris was also the place where his great-uncle, the one who was king as Edward VIII and later Duke of Windsor, signed the document of his abdication in favor of George VI, father of Elizabeth II and grandfather of Charles III.
Will King Charles visit Villa Windsor?
According to different British and French media in the last weeks, Charles III and Camilla have received an invitation to visit Villa Windsor.
Villa Windsor is the splendid mansion in the Bois de Boulogne in Paris where the Duke of Windsor and his wife, Wallis Simpson, spent their exile after the former monarch signed in one of its rooms the abdication.
The visit does not appear in the official program of the King and Queen’s trip to France, but it is not ruled out that the king will visit the house personally.
There is no doubt that Villa Windsor is a place of memories for Charles III, who in his time as Prince of Wales had the opportunity to visit his great-uncle, although it must be recognized that those memories are not the happiest for the king.
Charles III visited it for the last time during a state trip to France of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, in 1972.
The visit to the Duke and Duchess of Windsor’s mansion was not included in the official program of the trip either, but everyone understood Queen Elizabeth II’s interest in going to see her uncle, who was then ill with cancer and living his last days of life.
A year earlier, in 1971, Charles had already visited the same place to satisfy his curiosity about his great-uncle.
The then-heir recounted years later how surprised he was to see his uncle living in a kind of parallel kingdom, served by footmen in the same livery worn by those at Buckingham and with the famous red box in which British monarchs receive official government documents on display in the mansion.
For Charles the place had a tragic air, both the people and the atmosphere surrounding it.
He assured that he felt a sense of relief when he finally managed to escape from there after 45 minutes and return to Paris, his official biographer revealed.
After the death of the Duke of Windsor in 1972, a new family episode lived in the mansion inclined to bet that King Charles III will decline the invitation he has received from its current owners to visit it.
Although for the Mansart Foundation for heritage conservation, the King’s visit would be very beneficial, because they have recently announced that next year the mansion will open as a house-museum.
In late August 1997, Princess Diana also visited Villa Windsor with Dodi Al Fayed, whose father, Mohamed Al Fayed, had bought it a few years earlier with the intention of getting closer to the British royal family.