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You have the wine but we have the humour, King Charles tells Emmanuel Macron at lavish state banquet

It started with a blustery exit from the plane (that almost claimed the Queen’s hat) and ended in the more salubrious confines of the Palace of Versailles, in the exalted company of Mick Jagger and Hugh Grant.

Along the way, there was the obligatory tree planting, a remembrance ceremony at the Arc de Triomphe culminating in a spectacular flypast and an exchange of gifts at the Elysee Palace.

The King, 74, and Queen, 76, were “enormously touched” to be given a “magnificent welcome” as they arrived in Paris for their first state visit to France.

As His Majesty addressed guests gathered in the Hall of Mirrors for a lavish state banquet on Wednesday night, he said the visit - postponed from March - had been “worth the wait”.

The King and Brigitte Macron raised a glass as His Majesty thanked France for its special welcome
The King and Brigitte Macron raised a glass as His Majesty thanked France for a special welcome - REUTERS

The King spoke fondly of his late mother, Elizabeth II, recalling her own visits to France. And he spoke of the “profoundly moving” gesture made by Mr Macron in the aftermath of his mother’s death last September, when the Union flag was flown at half mast at the Elysee Palace.

“Your words, at that time, meant a great deal to us too,” Charles told the President.

“You said that she had touched your hearts - and it was she who held France in the greatest affection, as, of course, did my grandmother Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother.”

Mick Jagger attending the State Banquet at the Palace of Versailles
Mick Jagger attending the State Banquet at the Palace of Versailles - Yui Mok

He went on: “My parents’ first official visit together was to France in nineteen forty-eight, shortly after their wedding.

“By all accounts, they made quite a splash, dancing till the early hours at the glamourous Chez Carrere in the Rue Pierre Charron, serenaded by Edith Piaf.

“I suspect it may have left an indelible impression on me, even six months before I was born - La Vie en Rose is one of my favourite songs to this day!”

The King was honoured with a spectacular flypast
The King was honoured with a spectacular flypast - UNPIXS

Continuing his trip down memory lane, the King also spoke of how President Pompidou had hosted the late Queen at the Palace of Versailles on her second state visit in 1972.

“I was reminded recently that when she returned the courtesy with dinner for the President and Madame Pompidou at the Hotel de Charost, they ran into a little more difficulty,” he said.

“Our Embassy tried to bring several cases of English wine over from Hampshire for the banquet, only to be prevented by a customs official at Orly.

“In those days, there was no such thing as ‘English wine’…  As Roland Topor surmised, ‘les Français ont du vin, les Anglais de l’humour.’”

King Charles and Emmanuel Macron made toasts at the banquet in Paris
King Charles and Emmanuel Macron made toasts at the banquet in Paris - REUTERS

The King spoke warmly of the “enduring relationship” between France and the UK, noting that the “connections between our people are myriad, and represent the lifeblood of our Entente Cordiale, which was inspired by my great great Grandfather, King Edward VII.”

As Charles and President Emmanuel Macron had earlier strolled along together, deep in conversation and joking conspiratorially, they appeared to genuinely enjoy each other’s company. The entente cordiale is indeed in fine fettle.

Hugh Grant and Anna Elisabet Eberstein
Hugh Grant and Anna Elisabet Eberstein - Stephane Cardinale - Corbis

The Queen and Brigitte Macron also enjoyed a close rapport.

Mrs Macron extended an arm to help Her Majesty down the steps at the Elysee Palace, and later, helped fix her navy Dior cape - again flapping in the wind - on the red carpet before they posed before a wall of camera flashes.

The King with Queen Camilla, Emmanuel Macron and Brigitte Macron at the Palace of Versailles
The King with Queen Camilla, Emmanuel Macron and Brigitte Macron at the Palace of Versailles - GETTY IMAGES

Inside, an eclectic array of guests were gathered, from Mr Grant and Sir Mick to former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger and former football players Didier Drogba and Patrick Vieira.

Sir Mick had arrived on the red carpet with his partner, Melanie Hamrick. As he waved to onlookers he said: “Wow” and “it’s so windy” as his scarf blew in his face.

Also invited to dine with the royals on lobster and poached Bresse chicken were novelist Ken Follet, actresses Charlotte Gainsbourg, playwright Sir Christopher Hampton and former French tennis player Amélie Mauresmo.

Three-course menu for Palace of Versailles banquet
Three-course menu for Palace of Versailles banquet

As the guests mingled before sitting down to eat, Sir Mick was locked in conversation with Mr Wenger.

Mr Macron also delivered a speech, prompting the King to look up at him several times in acknowledgement, clearly understanding his French.

A ripple of laughter echoed around the room when the President mentioned Shakespeare, The Beatles and Rolling Stones - a nod to their rock star guest.

Charlotte Gainsbourg arrives at Versailles
Charlotte Gainsbourg arrives at Versailles - BENOIT TESSIER

Earlier, the King had given the President a complete edition of French author Voltaire’s writings - a volume that included his Lettres sur les Anglais which were once banned in France and may – or may not – have been a wry comment on free speech.

In return, Mr Macron gave the King a golden coin from the Monnaie de Paris featuring Charles’s image.

He also gave him a first-edition prize-winning French novel – Romain Gary’s novel Les Racines du Ciel (The Roots of Heaven), which won the Prix Goncourt, France’s highest literary award in 1956.

After a 40-minute tete-a-tete at the Elysee, the two heads of state strolled down the road to the British ambassador’s residence to shouts from onlookers of “vive le roi”.

The King pointed to the crowds, and the two men looked at each other and said: “Shall we say hello?” – which they duly did.

One woman in the crowd, who shook hands with the King and gave her name as Sophie, from Lyon, said: “I came here to see the King and because I think it’s an important and memorable moment for our two countries, especially since Brexit.

“For my part, it was in some sense also a tribute to Queen Elizabeth.”

She added: “People here still have an affection for the British crown.”

At the residence, the King and Mr Macron planted an oak sapling – a gift from the president to mark their warm friendship – following a long tradition begun by the late Queen.

If any doubts remained about the rapport between the two men, he also gave his French counterpart a photograph album containing images of the two of them.

As he raised his glass at the banquet, the King said: “ I would like, if you would allow me, to raise a toast to President and Madame Macron and to the French people, as well as to our Entente Cordiale - a sustainable alliance.  Whatever lies ahead, may it endure, faithful and constant, for centuries to come.”


08:24 PM BST

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07:52 PM BST

Macron kiss

President Macron greeted Camilla with a kiss as they arrived at the state dinner.

Emmanuel Macron kisses Queen Camilla's hand ahead of state dinner
Emmanuel Macron kisses Queen Camilla's hand ahead of state dinner

07:06 PM BST

King arrives at state dinner

The King and Queen have arrived at the state dinner alongside the Macrons.


06:42 PM BST

Guests make way across the red carpet

English singer Mick Jagger and his wife US choreographer Melanie Hamrick arrive to attend a state banquet
English singer Mick Jagger and his wife US choreographer Melanie Hamrick arrive to attend a state banquet
Melanie Hamrick and Mick Jagger attending the State Banquet at the Palace of Versailles
Melanie Hamrick and Mick Jagger attending the State Banquet at the Palace of Versailles - PA
British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly and his wife Susannah Cleverly arrive
British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly and his wife Susannah Cleverly arrive - REUTERS

06:09 PM BST

LVMH boss set to make appearance

The eclectic guest list is said to have been chosen to reflect the breadth of the France-UK relationship and includes Hugh Grant, Mick Jagger, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Raymond Blanc, Arsène Wenger, Didier Drogba and Patrick Vieira.

Bernard Arnault, Frances’s richest man and LVMH chief, is also expected to attend.


06:08 PM BST

Le menu

Guets will dine on lobster, poached Bresse chicken and a compote of cooked and raw raspberries, followed by a selection of French and British cheeses.


05:57 PM BST

Guests arrive for state dinner

Guests have started arriving for the state dinner hosted by the French President Emmanuel Macron.


05:24 PM BST

Ambassador’s residence visit

Charles and Mr Macron were greeted with shouts from onlookers of “vive le roi” as they walked a couple of hundred metres from the Elysée Palace to the British ambassador’s residence in the Rue du Faubourg St-Honoré.

The King pointed to the onlookers, and the two heads of state looked at each other and said: “Shall we say hello?” - which they duly did.

One woman in the crowd, who shook hands with the King and gave her name as Sophie, from Lyon,  said: “I came here to see the King and because I think it’s an important and memorable moment for our two countries, especially since Brexit.

“For my part, it [coming here] was in some sense also a tribute to Queen Elizabeth.”

She added: “People here still have an affection for the British crown.”

Inside the residence, the King and President met staff and their families and planted a tree in the garden, following a long tradition begun by the Elizabeth II.

In a sign of the warmth of their relationship, Mr Macron had gifted the oak sapling to the King from his Versailles estate and wanted to join him for the ceremonial moment.

The garden already features five trees planted by British Royals, including three by the late Queen.

They include a Persian Highwood from her first state visit to France in 1957, a Gingko Biloba from a 1972 visit and a Cork Oak from her final visit to France.


05:09 PM BST

State visit in pictures

French President Emmanuel Macron with his wife Brigitte Macron and Britain's King Charles and Queen Camilla arrive for a bilateral meeting at the Elysee Palace
French President Emmanuel Macron with his wife Brigitte Macron and Britain's King Charles and Queen Camilla arrive for a bilateral meeting at the Elysee Palace - Reuters
King Charles III, his wife Camilla, and Brigitte Macron attend a remembrance ceremony at Arc de Triomphe in Paris
King Charles III, his wife Camilla, and Brigitte Macron attend a remembrance ceremony at Arc de Triomphe in Paris - Shutterstock

04:49 PM BST

Fly past 'incredible' says holidaymaker

A British holidaymaker said the twin display from the British and French air divisions was “incredible”.

Greg Taylor, who is on holiday in Paris, remarked that the fly past was “symbolic of the strong relationship” between the two countries.

The 25-year-old Londoner said: “The Red Arrows and the Patrouille de France in one display really knocked my socks off, it was incredible.

“To me the colours coming out of the jets was very symbolic of the countries in unison, you know working together, showing the strong relationship the two nations have.”

Mr Taylor competed in the annual Great North Run half-marathon on Sep 10 where the RAF squad also flew overhead.

He added: “Blimey I’m seeing the Arrows every other week, I might be their biggest fan.”

France's elite flying team "Patrouille de France" and Britain's Royal Air Force's "Red Arrows" perform fly past
France's elite flying team "Patrouille de France" and Britain's Royal Air Force's "Red Arrows" perform fly past - MARTIN BUREAU

04:17 PM BST

'An incredible welcome' for British royals

The King and Queen are said to have had an “incredible” welcome at the Arc de Triomphe.

France’s Air Force elite flying team “Patrouille de France” and Britain’s Royal Air Force’s team the “Red Arrows” performed a fly past.


04:12 PM BST

State visit appears to be a barrel of laughs

The King and Mr Macron arrived by car at the Elysee together just before 4pm, closely followed by the Queen and Brigitte Macron.

The foursome exchanged pleasantries as they stood at the end of a red carpet in the courtyard, laughing and joking together.

They then made their way up the red carpet, pausing to pose for photographs before Charles and Camilla led the way inside.

Mr Macron appeared particularly animated, joking with the gathered media.

Inside, the King and Mr Macron posed for photographs in the lavishly decorated Salon d’ore which is used as the President’s main office.

As they entered the room, Charles jokingly asked if the waiting photographers were always there.

The men posed before the French and EU flags before taking their seats for a private discussion.

The King and Mr Macron left on foot at 16.40, headed for the UK ambassador’s residence where they will plant an oak tree presented as a gift by the French President.

The two men appeared to be in deep conversation as they strolled out of the grounds together.


04:09 PM BST

Gift exchange through the eyes of our Royal Editor

The King presented French President Emmanuel Macron with a photography album containing images of the two of them.

Charles, 74, also gave Mr Macron a complete edition of French author Voltaire’s writings as they met at the Elysee Palace.

The complete edition included Voltaire’s Lettres sur les Anglais, otherwise known as Lettres philosophiques.

The works have been edited by Prof Nicholas Cronk, director of the Voltaire Foundation and a leading UK academic at Oxford University.

Having started work in 1968, the complete works, comprising 205 volumes, was only recently finished in April 2022.

In return, Mr Macron gave the King  a golden coin from the Monnaie de Paris featuring Charles’s portrait.

He also gave him a first-edition prize-winning French novel - Romain Gary’s novel Les Racines du ciel (The Roots of Heaven), which won the Prix Goncourt, France’s highest literary award in 1956.


04:02 PM BST

Proceedings mirror late Queen's final visit

The Arc was the location for the Ceremonial Arrival of Queen Elizabeth II for Her Majesty’s final State Visit to France in 2014.

The President of the flame committee then invited Charles and Camilla to sign the ‘Livre d’Or’ or the ‘Golden Book’, to mark their visit.

Their Majesties, accompanied by the President and Madame Macron, then left in a waiting car to be driven down the Champs-Elysée toward the Élysées Palace, escorted by two Squadrons of the Mounted Regiment of the Garde Républicaine.


03:59 PM BST

The Telegraph's Royal Editor reports from Paris

Charles and Camilla were greeted warmly by President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte at the Arc de Triomphe amid the deafening sound of a military band playing the national anthems of Britain and France.

As His Majesty was escorted by the President to inspect the soldiers, consisting of the Regimental Band of the Garde Républicaine, the French Colour Part and the Tri-Service Guard of Honour, the Queen engaged in affectionate conversation with Mrs Macron.

After the Guard Inspection, The King and President Macron made their way to the Plateau, the centre piece of the Arc de Triomphe, where they stopped at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Both men bowed in silence in front of the eternal flame under the war memorial, before together laying a wreath in tribute to those who perished in the First and Second World Wars.

Nestled in the floral arrangement of white and red roses, the King placed a handwritten card with: “Iin everlasting remembrance”, written in English and French.

After the lighting, the bugle call ‘Aux Morts’, the French equivalent of ‘The Last Post’, meaning “to the dead”, was sounded and followed by a minute’s silence.

The British national anthem was followed by the French national anthem, (La Marseillaise, as a stunning flypast of the Patrouille de France and the Red Arrows roared above the Champs-Élysée.


03:44 PM BST

Gold coin pictured

Gold coin from President Emmanuel Macron to King
Gold coin from President Emmanuel Macron to King

03:27 PM BST

Tree planting due

After the gift exchange the King and Mr Macron will then walk to the British ambassador’s residence for a ceremonial tree planting, a tradition set by the late Queen.


02:56 PM BST

Gift exchange

His Majesty will present to President Macron, Voltaire’s Lettres sur les Anglais, otherwise known as Lettres philosophiques, one of the greatest and most influential works of the European Enlightenment and beyond.

In twenty-five short chapters, the Lettres sur les Anglais cover a wide range of themes, and set out the programme for a modern, free and tolerant society.

This is the most complete edition ever undertaken of the work, and includes the English version, the Letters concerning the English nation, that Voltaire published in London in 1733.

The book was based on Voltaire’s experience during his stay in London from 1726 to 1728, when he met many English writers and was presented to George I.

These letters form part of the gift of the complete set of the Œuvres complètes de Voltaire, which have been edited by a leading UK academic at the Voltaire Foundation at Oxford University.

For the last forty years, the Voltaire Foundation has been building an international reputation for their world-leading research on the 18th century and the Enlightenment.

Having started work in 1968, they recently (April 2022) finished the publication of the Complete Works of Voltaire (Œuvres complètes de Voltaire), the first complete edition of Voltaire’s entire writings.

This has been completed in 205 volumes, edited by Professor Nicholas Cronk, Director of the Foundation. And Royal Bindery photography album containing photographs of His Majesty and the President.


02:41 PM BST

Arrive at Elysée Palace

The King and Queen have now arrived at the Elysée Palace.


02:40 PM BST

State visit in pictures

French President Emmanuel Macron, right, and Britain's King Charles III wave
French President Emmanuel Macron, right, and Britain's King Charles III wave - AP
Their majesties King Charles III and Queen Camilla are greeted at the Arc de Triomphe on the first dy of their state visit
Their majesties King Charles III and Queen Camilla are greeted at the Arc de Triomphe on the first dy of their state visit - Parsons Media
Horse mounted Republican Guards take part in a precession of after a welcoming ceremony for Britain's King Charles III and Britain's Queen Camilla
Horse mounted Republican Guards take part in a precession of after a welcoming ceremony for Britain's King Charles III and Britain's Queen Camilla - AFP

02:25 PM BST

Drive to Champs-Élysée

The King and Mr Macron travel together by car down the Champs-Élysées for an official audience at the Elysée Palace, including an exchange of gifts.

Mr Macron will hand the King a specially minted gold coin in his image and a first-edition prize-winning French novel.

The rare edition of Romain Gary’s novel Les Racines du ciel (The Roots of Heaven) won the Prix Goncourt, France’s highest literary award in 1956. Only 85 first edition copies are said to exist.

The gold medal celebrates the King’s “accession to the throne and Franco-British friendship”.


02:24 PM BST

State visit in pictures

King Charles III and President of France, Emmanuel Macron At the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
King Charles III and President of France, Emmanuel Macron At the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier - REUTERS
King Charles III performs the re-kindling of the eternal flame using the Comite de la Flamme
King Charles III performs the re-kindling of the eternal flame using the Comite de la Flamme - REUTERS

02:14 PM BST

Flypast

The flypast by the Patrouille de France, followed by the Red Arrows,  marked the end of the ceremony.

Charles and Camilla will now proceed to sign the Livre d’Or or, Golden Book, before meeting representatives of local veteran organisations, scouts and guides and the British School of Paris.

French Air Force elite flying team and the British Royal Air Force's Red Arrows
French Air Force elite flying team and the British Royal Air Force's Red Arrows - AFP

02:09 PM BST

Remembrance ceremony

At the remembrance ceremony King Charles will lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier on behalf of both heads of state.

He will also light the eternal flame which burns in memory of those who perished in the First and Second World Wars.

After the lighting, the bugle call Aux Morts, the French equivalent of The Last Post, will sound, followed by a minute’s silence.

Both national anthems will also be played before the King and Mr Macron review the Regimental Band of the Garde Républicaine, followed by the French Colour Party, before inspecting the Tri-Service Guard of Honour.


02:06 PM BST

Flypast on the horizon

There will be a flypast of both the La Patrouille de France and the Red Arrows mark the end of the ceremony.

Veterans will include the standard bearer of the Royal British Legion and a colour party with French officers who have links to the UK.

It will be the first time in 30 years that such a ceremony has been included in a state visit.


02:04 PM BST

Airport arrival in pictures

Queen Camilla arrives at Orly Airport, Paris
Queen Camilla arrives at Orly Airport, Paris - PA
French Prime Minister, Ms Elisabeth Borne greets King Charles III and Queen Camilla King Charles III and Queen Camilla arrive at Orly Airport
French Prime Minister, Ms Elisabeth Borne greets King Charles III and Queen Camilla King Charles III and Queen Camilla arrive at Orly Airport - Tim Rooke/Shutterstock
French Republican Guards stand beside the red carpet prior to the arrival of Britain's King Charles and Britain's Queen Camilla
French Republican Guards stand beside the red carpet prior to the arrival of Britain's King Charles and Britain's Queen Camilla - REUTERS

01:53 PM BST

King and Queen arrive at Arc de Triomphe

King Charles and Queen Camilla are greeted at the Arc de Triomphe to some music from a French military band.

They had been escorted along the long Champs-Élysées by a police motorcade.

French president Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte Macron met them upon arrival.


01:50 PM BST

No crowds permittd at Arc de Triomphe

Soldiers lined up around the Arc de Triomphe, which has a large French flag flying from it.

But the French public is notably absent due to security barriers preventing crowds from viewing the spectacle.


01:35 PM BST

Royals greeted by foreign secretary in France

The King and Queen arrived shortly before 2pm on a private chartered flight from Farnborough, travelling on the “baby Voyager” airbus plane to Paris Orly airport.

They were officially welcomed by the French Prime Minister, Elisabeth Borne, on behalf of President Macron and the French government.

They were also received by foreign secretary James Cleverly, the UK’s ambassador to France Dame Menna Rawlings and the French Ambassador to the UK, Hélène Tréheux-Duchêne, who greeted the couple at the foot of the aircraft steps.

The Queen held tightly to her hat due to the blustery conditions on the red carpet.

The couple left the airport in the State Bentley for a ceremonial welcome by President and Madame Macron at the Arc de Triomphe.

It is Charles’s 35th official visit to France, and Camilla’s ninth official visit. The couple last visited France in 2019, attending a service in Bayeux Cathedral to mark the 75th anniversary of the Normandy Landings. Queen Elizabeth II, and the Duke of Edinburgh undertook a State Visit to France in 2014.


01:23 PM BST

Macron due to welcome King and Queen

Their Majesties are due to be formally welcomed to France by President Emmanuel Macron and his wife, Brigitte Macron, at the Arc de Triomphe.

The ceremony will mirror that held in 2014 during Elizabeth II’s final state visit to France.


01:04 PM BST

Macron to give King coin

Mr Macron will later today give the King a specially minted gold coin in his image and a first-edition prize-winning French novel.

Read the full story here...


01:00 PM BST

King and Queen land in Paris

The King and Queen have landed in Paris.

They will be welcomed at Orly Airport by French Prime Minister, Elisabeth Borne, the UK ambassador to France, Dame Menna Rawlings, and her French counterpart, Hélène Tréheux-Duchêne.

A pilot holds the Royal Standard of the United Kingdom and the flag of France in the cockpit of the aircraft transporting Britain's King Charles III and Britain's Queen Camilla
A pilot holds the Royal Standard of the United Kingdom and the flag of France in the cockpit of the aircraft transporting Britain's King Charles III and Britain's Queen Camilla - AFP

Charles and Camilla walked along the red carpet to a guard of honour, with an officer and 20 guardsmen of the Republican Guard, which is part of the French National Gendarmerie, lined up to greet them.

They then walked through the Paris Orly terminal to a car waiting to take them to the Arc de Triomphe.

The journey is expected to take about 25 minutes.

French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne (L) greets Britain's King Charles III (C) and Britain's Queen Camilla (R) upon arrival at the Orly Airport
French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne (L) greets Britain's King Charles III (C) and Britain's Queen Camilla (R) upon arrival at the Orly Airport - AFP

12:58 PM BST

Postponed trip set to commence

The King and Queen will begin their postponed state visit to France on today with a ceremonial welcome at the Arc de Triomphe and a state banquet at the Palace of Versailles.

Charles and Camilla are travelling to Paris and Bordeaux for a three-day trip, six months after it had to be rescheduled because of widespread rioting across the country.


12:26 PM BST

Emmanuel Macron - 'You visited as a Prince, you return as a King'

The French president has posted a video welcoming King Charles to France.


12:21 PM BST

Welcome to our live coverage

Hello, and welcome to our live coverage of King Charles and Queen Camilla’s landmark state visit to France.

The couple are set to land soon at Orly Airport, where they will be greeted by French Prime Minister, Elisabeth Borne.

Our Royal Editor, Victoria Ward, is in France and will be bringing you the latest updates throughout the day.