King Charles to dine with 'cherished' German cousins during state visit
King Charles is expected to dine with his German cousins during his first state visit to the country as monarch.
As part of a two-day trip to Berlin and Hamburg, the King and Queen Consort will attend a white-tie state banquet hosted by Frank-Walter Steinmeier, the German president, and his wife, who are personal friends of the couple.
The dinner for 120 people will be held at Bellevue Palace, Germany’s presidential residence, and is likely to include some of the German side of the King's family, according to a source with intimate knowledge of the proceedings.
The King has several first, direct cousins in Germany including Prince Rainer of Hesse, Princess Clarissa of Hesse, Prince Georg of Hanover and Prince Ludwig of Baden.
The late Duke of Edinburgh was uncle to the Prince and Princess of Hesse, and Prince Georg of Hanover, through his sister Princess Sophie of Greece and Denmark. Prince Ludwig is the son of the late Duke's sister Theodora.
The King's first cousins, once removed, include Bernhard, the Margrave of Baden, who is Theodora's grandson, and Prince Philipp of Hohenlohe-Langenburg, who is the grandson of Philip's elder sister Princess Margarita.
A relative from the House of Baden has been confirmed as attending, the source told The Telegraph.
It is also thought likely that the King will refer to his German ancestry in a speech that he will give at the state banquet on Wednesday evening.
The King has previously spoken about how he “cherishes” his family’s German ties, as well as their affinity with the European nation’s culture and traditions.
During the trip, the monarch will become the first foreign head of state to receive a ceremonial welcome and military honours at Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate, which is seen as a personal gesture from Mr Steinmeier. He will also address the German parliament, the Bundestag, on Thursday.
King Charles is known to speak German well, taking after his father who was fluent in the language and whose sisters married German royalty.
“This is something Germans will be talking about decades later,” the source told The Telegraph.
The King has previously celebrated the Royal family’s proud historic links with Germany. It is now over a century since the family changed its name to Windsor to escape anti-German sentiment during the First World War.
Returning to the country for the first time on Wednesday since ascending the throne, the monarch last visited during the throes of the pandemic in 2020, where he also addressed the Bundestag - beginning his speech in German.
It comes as he was announced as the new Colonel in Chief of the Royal Engineers on Tuesday, a title which used to be held by Queen Elizabeth II.
As part of the state visit, he will meet representatives of the Sappers in Brandenburg, Berlin, and will view a demonstration of a wide river pontoon bridging by one of the squadrons.
Police in Berlin are planning to deploy almost 1,000 officers as part of the “intensive security controls” for the King's two-day visit, after his trip to France was cancelled at the eleventh hour due to safety fears.
Thomas Drechsler, head of police operations, said the Royal couple’s wish to have face-to-face encounters with ordinary Berliners was “a kind of tightrope walk, that didn't make things easier”.
The King’s visit to France was postponed late last week by Emmanuel Macron, the French president, owing to increasingly violent clashes over his decision to force through pension reforms.
French intelligence reports warned that the royal tour would be targeted by protesters, suggesting that the King’s safety could not be guaranteed.
Meanwhile, the Duke of Sussex remains in London attending a High Court hacking case against a newspaper publisher while his father goes on his first state visit as monarch.
On Tuesday, the Duke warned that “the whole country is doomed” if the publisher of the Daily Mail can successfully have the claims over alleged unlawful information gathering dismissed without a trial.
While visiting the UK, the Duke will not see any members of his family as he was told the King was “too busy” at Highgrove, Glos, preparing for the German state visit.
Buckingham Palace declined to comment.