Macron to give King specially minted gold coin during state visit to France

The gold coin celebrates the King's 'accession to the throne and Franco-British friendship'
The gold coin celebrates the King's 'accession to the throne and Franco-British friendship'

Emmanuel Macron will give the King a specially minted gold coin in his image as he welcomes the royal couple to their three-day visit of France on Wednesday.

After rekindling the flame of the Unknown Soldier under the Arc de Triomphe, descending the Champs-Elysées and a 20-minute tête-â-tête, the King and French president will exchange gifts at the Elysée Palace’s Hall of Portraits, which features a painting of Queen Victoria.

According to Le Parisien, Mr Macron has two gifts for the King.

The first is a rare edition of Romain Gary’s novel Les Racines du Ciel (The Roots of Heaven), which won the Prix Goncourt, France’s highest literary award in 1956. Only 85 first edition copies exist, according to the paper.

The book by the Lithuanian-born writer and Second World War pilot takes place in French Equatorial Africa. In it, Morrel, a crusading environmentalist, fights to save elephants from extinction. He is assisted by a nightclub hostess, and Forsythe, a disgraced British military officer in search of redemption. Critics say the novel is a metaphor for the quest for salvation for all humanity.

Symbolic importance

The Elysée said the book had symbolic importance as Gary joined the Resistance in North Africa after hearing Charles de Gaulle’s famous Appeal of 18 June 1940 from the BBC in London calling on the French to resist Nazi occupation.

It also “echoes the long-standing cooperation between president and King Charles in favour of biodiversity”, said the Elysée, adding that the King participated in the 2015 Cop21 summit in Paris.

He also stood alongside Mr Macron at the Cop26 in Glasgow in 2021 to “chair a meeting devoted to the Great Green Wall, a vast rural development program across the entire Sahel strip aimed at combating the effects of climate change and desertification in Africa”.

The second gift is a gold medal to celebrate Charles’ “accession to the throne and Franco-British friendship”.

“This exceptional object was made in the workshops of the Paris Mint and designed by the engraver general, Joaquin Jimenez,” said the Elysée.

One side features the King in his traditional Royal Navy uniform. He looks to the left, “as is the tradition of alternating profiles of British sovereigns in numismatics”, said a presidential aide.

In the background, the Union Jack flutters in the wind. On the other side, Highgrove House, the King’s private residence, features “in tribute to his interest in the environment and its protection”.

In the centre, the royal monogram with the crown of Saint George is surrounded by ivy, as an “emblematic plant symbol and symbolic of his attachment to nature”, according to an aide.

It is not yet known what the King will offer Mr Macron.

However, he was said to be very touched by the previous gift he received from the Macrons at the death of the Queen: an album containing 45 photos of Her Majesty’s various visits to France.