United Kingdom Monarch, King Charles III on Wednesday began his first state visit to France as monarch.
The trip was initially planned for March and was supposed to have been the monarch’s first state visit abroad since becoming monarch on the death of his mother Queen Elizabeth II. But it was shelved due to widespread rioting and strikes across France against pension reforms.
Although, the original itinerary in the capital Paris and the southwestern city of Bordeaux — packed with ceremony and pomp is largely unchanged.
AFP reported that the king and his wife Queen Camilla were welcomed at Paris Orly airport by Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne.
They were then to be welcomed by French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte at the Arc de Triomphe monument in central Paris, where they will lay wreaths to the countries’ war dead.
They will then board a Citroen DS7 convertible, escorted by 136 horses of the Republican Guard, to head up the Champs-Elysees for the Elysee Palace and talks with Macron.
The Macrons will then in the evening host the royal couple at a sumptuous state banquet at Versailles, the palace west of the capital synonymous with French royalty.
Guests at the dinner at the glittering Hall of Mirrors will include Charlotte Gainsbourg, the actor and daughter of Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin, Hugh Grant and French former Arsenal football manager Arsene Wenger.
Macron, who has faced accusations from left-wing opponents of himself behaving like a monarch, will likely be eager to ensure the event proceeds smoothly without showing excess at a time of economic frugality.
“This image, in this context, is obviously fundamentally harmful for Emmanuel Macron even if there are diplomatic imperatives behind it which also play a role,” French author and academic Benjamin Morel told AFP.
The French president, who has dealt with no fewer than four UK premiers over the last half-decade during a period of political turbulence in Britain, is known to have a strong personal rapport with Charles.