Sun, 10 Dec 2023

King Charles III makes his first official visit to France as king on Wednesday, six months later than originally planned. The visit had to be postpopned because of protests in France over President Macron's reform of the pensions system.

The 74-year-old British head of state's rescheduled three-day trip to Paris and Bordeaux with his wife Queen Camilla, 76, starts on Wednesday, with the itinerary largely unchanged from March.

It includes set-piece ceremonial events with President Emmanuel Macron as well as more informal meetings with the public.

The royal couple, Macron and his wife Brigitte will be officially welcomed at the Arc de Triomphe and lay wreaths of remembrance before a procession down the sweeping Champs-Elysees avenue.

The French leader and First Lady will also host Charles and Camilla at a state banquet at Versailles, which was the seat of the monarchy before the French Revolution of 1789.

Up to 180 people will be invited to the dinner in the Hall of Mirrors - 73 meters long and adorned with 357 mirrors - that was built to illustrate Louis's absolute power and dazzle visitors. Swedish violinist Daniel Lozakovich will perform on the night.

France launches massive police operation for week of high-profile events King Charles and Queen Camilla crowned in lavish, archaic British ritual

On Thursday, Macron and Charles will pay a visit to the Notre-Dame cathedral, currently under restoration following a 2019 fire that destroyed its roof, and will also go to the Museum of Natural History to meet business leaders and talk about biodiversity.

Queen Camilla and Brigitte Macron meanwhile will present a new French-British literary prize to be awarded for the first time next year.

Other highlights include a landmark address - likely in French - by Charles to lawmakers at the Senate.

Many of the engagements turn around subjects championed by both couples, from the environment and sustainability to promoting literacy and youth entrepreneurship.

There are meetings with local communities and sports stars in the north Parisian suburb of Saint-Denis, home to the national stadium and venue for next year's Olympic Games.

In Bordeaux, the southwestern city once ruled over by Charles's 12th-century ancestor Henry II and still home to around 39,000 British expats, he will tour an organic vineyard - the chteau Smith Haut Lafitte - and meet firefighters tackling climate-induced wildfires.

(with AFP)

Originally published on RFI

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