The royal couple arrived in Orly airport and are set for a glittering state banquet at Versailles Palace
The King and Queen arrived at Orly airport on the outskirts of Paris on Wednesday afternoon to begin their state visit to France, where they were greeted by the French Prime Minister, Ms. Elisabeth Borne, on behalf of French President Emmanuel Macron and the French Government.
The British ambassador to France, Her Excellency Dame Menna Rawlings, and the French ambassador to the United Kingdom, Her Excellency Hélène Tréheux-Duchêne were also present as the royal couple walked passed a Guard of Honor, made up of one Officer and 20 Guardsmen.
Their Majesties The King and Queen have arrived in Paris for their first State Visit to France since His Majesty’s Accession. 🇫🇷
Leurs Majestés Le Roi et La Reine sont arrivés en France! #RoyalVisitFrance #VisiteRoyale pic.twitter.com/hrM35GDiKO
— The Royal Family (@RoyalFamily) September 20, 2023
Their first stop was at the Arc de Triomphe, where they were formally welcomed to France by Macron, 45, and his wife Brigitte, 70.
King Charles was then invited to light the eternal flame, which burns as a memorial of those who died in the two World Wars. The Arc de Triomphe was where Charles’ mother, Queen Elizabeth, received a ceremonial welcome to France on her last state visit there in 2014.
This evening, the King and Queen will be guests of honor at a glittering state banquet at the Palace of Versailles hosted by the Macrons.
The trip, which will also take them to Bordeaux in the southwest of the country, had originally been planned for March. However, it had to be postponed due to protests and riots over changes in pensions for French workers. Despite postponing the portion of their travel to France, King Charles, 74, and Queen Camilla, 76, continued with their plans to tour Germany.
As well as the formalities of their welcome and the banquet at Versailles, the couple will tour an organic vineyard near Bordeaux and celebrations surrounding the Rugby World Cup, which France is hosting — and Kate Middleton and Prince William recently attended in their roles as the patrons of England and Wales rugby, respectively.
Chris Fitzgerald, the deputy private secretary to the King, said in a palace briefing earlier this month that the program “remains very similar to that which was planned for March, meaning the themes of the visit are also, for the most part, unchanged."
The idea for the visit is to “celebrate Britain’s relationship with France, marking our shared histories, culture and values. It will also provide an opportunity to look forward and demonstrate the many ways the U.K. and France are working together, whether that be to promote and protect biodiversity, combat climate change, strengthen security and defense ties in response to the conflict in Ukraine or recognize outstanding cultural achievement.”
Fitzgerald added, “As well as speaking to the strength of the U.K.’s bilateral relationship with France, Their Majesties’ visit will include engagements highlighting sustainability and the power of community — key themes of importance to the citizens of both our nations."
The trip is Charles’ 35th official visit to France and Camilla’s ninth. It follows his son Prince William's brief visit to New York City this week when he showcased his Earthshot Prize.
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