After a missed first date, the big day. the King of England Charles III and Queen Camilla arrived in France on Wednesday September 20. They were welcomed at Orly airport by Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne. The monarch begins a state visit to France, marked by solemnity and pomp, to celebrate the relaunch of Franco-British friendship after the turbulence of Brexit.
“You came as a prince, you return as a king. Welcome, your majesty! », rejoiced on X (formerly Twitter) Mr. Macron.
In March, the royal trip had to be canceled at the last minute, against a backdrop of violent demonstrations in France against pension reform. Charles, who was to sign his first official foreign visit as king in Paris, finally went to Berlin.
Visit, “comes in a context of strengthening ties between the United Kingdom and France” after a first phase of “reconnection”welcomes the Elysée.
At 2:45 p.m., Charles and Camilla must join Emmanuel and Brigitte Macron at the Arc de Triomphe for a ceremony to rekindle the flame at the tomb of the Unknown Soldier, followed by a descent of the Champs-Elysées. The Patrouille de France and the Red Arrows, the acrobatic patrol of the Royal Air Force, will also take to the sky.
The king and the president will then walk down the Champs-Elysées to reach the presidential palace where they will have a one-on-one meeting.
State dinner at Versailles
Another highlight of the visit, the state dinner at Versailles, a nod to the king’s mother, Elizabeth II, who was invited to lunch in the same sumptuous setting in 1957 and returned to Versailles in 1972.
Among the personalities from the world of culture, we expect in particular the singer of the Rolling Stones Mick Jagger, the actors Hugh Grant, Charlotte Gainsbourg and Emma Mackey, the writers Ken Follett, Kate Elliott and Christopher Hampton, the photographers Bettina Rheims or Yann Arthus- Bertrand.
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Among the representatives of the sporting world are the former Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger, the ex-footballers Didier Drogba and Patrick Viera who played a lot in England, the former tennis player Amélie Mauresmo (winner of Wimbledon in 2008) and even the president of the Paris 2024 organizing committee, Tony Estanguet.
Large French companies will be strongly represented with the CEO of the LVMH group, Bernard Arnault (LVMH), the director of Iliad Xavier Niel (individual shareholder of World), the director of Chanel Leena Nai, or the general director of Engie, Catherine Macgregor). The guest list also includes heads of Franco-British institutions as well as around fifteen politicians, including five members of the government.
The king, who intends to establish his image internationally a year after his accession to the throne, will begin the most political part of his visit on Thursday with a speech from the Senate gallery, in the heart of the hemicycle, a first for a British sovereign.
He will also highlight a subject that is close to his heart, the environment, during a round table at the National Museum of Natural History then on Friday in Bordeaux, in a region hard hit by fires in 2022 and which has many British.
President Macron will also offer him an original edition of “Roots of Heaven” by Romain Gary, whose central theme is the protection of the planet and elephants in Africa, as well as a medal in tribute to his fights on the subject.
For the occasion, 8,000 police officers and gendarmes will be mobilized on Wednesday and up to 12,000 on Friday, when the king’s visit will also coincide with that of Pope Francis in Marseille.