Kate Middleton and Prince William to bolster UK-France relations ahead of Brexit

Priya Joshi
Kate Middleton Prince William

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will visit Paris this week in a diplomatic charm offensive ahead of Britain's official exit from the European Union.

The two-day visit marks Prince William's first official visit to the French capital since his mother, Diana, Princess of Wales, tragically died in a car crash in the city 20 years ago.

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The royal couple will serve as goodwill ambassadors for Britain at the request of the Foreign Office in a bid to strengthen Anglo-French relations ahead of the triggering of article 50.

Kensington Palace have confirmed the itinerary for the official tour. It will begin on Friday (17 March), when the Duke and Duchess will be welcomed to Paris by senior French politicians.

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The couple will be guests of honour at a British embassy reception called "Les Voisins" ("neighbours") to celebrate cultural ties between the UK and France. At the high-profile event they will meet young French leaders from the worlds of arts, sport, fashion and business, as well as young military award winners.

The royals will also meet first responders at the scene of the 2015 terrorist attacks at the Bataclan theatre in Paris which left 130 people dead, and the lorry attack in Nice on Bastille Day last year.

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William and Kate will later attend the Six Nations rugby international between France and Wales at the Stade de France, which was also targeted by suicide bombers in 2015 during a wave of terrorist attacks in the French capital.

While the visit to Paris will be personally poignant for Prince William, ahead of his mother's 20th death anniversary, there are said to be no plans for him to visit the scene of his mother's death in 1997 in the Pont de l'Alma (the Flame of Liberty tunnel).

After the Paris tour, the couple will visit Germany and Poland in July in a similar bid to bolster relations with EU nations in post-Brexit Britain, reports The Guardian.

A Foreign Office spokesman commented that royal visits play a "very important role" in British diplomacy.

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