King Charles III and Queen Camilla began their historic three-day state visit to France this Wednesday week, the second overseas trip by the new British monarch since the Coronation.
The royal couple were welcomed by French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte, with an itinerary packed with symbolic sites and opportunities to strengthen the partnership between the two nations.
King Charles’ visit to France
King Charles and Camilla landed at Paris’ Orly Airport on Wednesday afternoon, where they were welcomed by French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne.
The royal couple then drove to the Arc de Triomphe in a stately Bentley flown in from Britain, escorted by the Republican Guard. There they were welcomed by President Macron in an official ceremony.
An incredible welcome at the Arc de Triomphe to formally kick-off #RoyalVisitFrance! 🇫🇷
— The Royal Family (@RoyalFamily) September 20, 2023
National anthems played as an air patrol flew overhead, tracing the colors of the French flag in the sky.
Charles and Macron then drove down the Champs Elysees together in a car, waving to the assembled crowd on their way to the Elysee Palace for private talks.
Their wives, Queen Camilla and Brigitte Macron, followed in another car.
In the evening, a lavish state dinner was held in the Hall of Mirrors at the Palace of Versailles. This will be the kick-off of two days packed with events.
On Thursday, the King will deliver a speech at the French Senate and visit the restoration works of the Notre Dame Cathedral, damaged by fire in 2019.
He will also participate in a round table on finance, climate, and biodiversity at the Museum of Natural History alongside President Macron.
Meanwhile, Queen Camilla and Brigitte Macron will launch a Franco-British literary prize and visit a women’s support organization in Saint-Denis.
The trip will conclude on Friday with a visit to an organic vineyard in Bordeaux before the British royals return home.
This state visit is of particular importance as France was to be the first overseas engagement of Charles’ reign following his coronation, but was postponed due to civil unrest in France.
For Charles III this meeting signals his desire to maintain a close diplomatic partnership with France despite recent tensions over Brexit and migration.
Queen Elizabeth II made six trips to France during her historic 70-year reign, but Charles has visited the country more than 35 times.
This long-standing affinity underscores the importance of British-French relations.