King and Queen to make postponed state visit to France

Trip is taking place six months after original visit was postponed because of widespread rioting.

Ben Mitchell
Wednesday 20 September 2023 02:45 BST
The King and Queen (PA)
The King and Queen (PA)

The King and Queen are set to make a state visit to France on Wednesday, six months after the trip was postponed because of widespread rioting across the country.

Charles and Camilla were due to tour Paris and Bordeaux in March, but after violent nationwide demonstrations by those opposed to President Emmanuel Macron’s retirement age reforms, the trip was shelved.

The overseas tour was to be the King and his wife’s first state visit, but Germany – the second leg of the journey – became the historic first destination for the royal couple.

The royal couple will arrive in Paris on Wednesday afternoon and it is understood the programme for the state visit will remain broadly similar to events planned for the March trip.

President Macron is still expected to host a state banquet in honour of his royal guests.

Buckingham Palace said in a statement announcing the rescheduled trip: “The King and Queen will undertake a state visit to France, visiting Paris and Bordeaux, from Wednesday 20th to Friday 22nd September 2023.

“The visit will celebrate the shared history, culture and values of the United Kingdom and France.”

The decision to defer the state visit was taken after the French leader asked the British Government to postpone the trip, Downing Street said at the time.

Images of Bordeaux’s town hall set on fire by protesters, a few days before the trip was due to begin, were symbolic of the fury felt by some over Mr Macron’s reforms, and followed more than a week of daily protests.

French unions had also called for nationwide pension demonstrations, which would have coincided with Charles and Camilla’s planned visit in March.

President Macron spoke to the King on the phone on the morning the trip was cancelled after discussions between the UK and French governments.

The French leader later pushed through his unpopular reform, raising the state pension age from 62 to 64.

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