King Charles will fly to France for his first state visit as Britain’s monarch on March 26 – 29 to build ties between Paris and London after long years of conflict over Brexit, the French presidency said on Friday.
The visit to France consists of a state dinner for King Charles and Queen Consort Camilla that will be held at the Palace of Versailles, as a diplomatic deed for President Emmanuel Macron, to renew Franco-British relations after years of conflict.
In a statement, Macron’s office said, the visit “is an honour for France and illustrates the depths of the historical links uniting our two countries”, and also pointed out the previous partnership between the two men “on issues of protecting biodiversity and the fight against climate change.”
Charles’ visit will be hard on his Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, who is set to meet Macron in Paris on March 10 to attend the first Franco-British summit that was last held in 2018, before the relations resolved.
Macron’s strategy during the discussion to urge Britain’s departure from the European Union, which was officially announced in February 2020, led to angered outbursts by UK’s former Prime Minister Boris Johnson and hateful tabloids.
Britain’s role in settling a security deal between the United States and Australia, wrecking a multi-billion submarine deal the French negotiated with Canberra, leaving Macron angered and bringing relations to a lower level.
Last year, when former British Prime Minister Liz Truss was asked whether Macron was a friend or rival, she replied, “the jury’s out.”
But French officials sought to include Britain in Europe’s orbit after Brexit and Macron made extreme measures to include Britain in the launch of his European Political Community programme in Prague, on October 2022.
British officials told Britain’s news agency, Reuters, he gave a tribute to Queen Elizabeth after she passed away that received much appreciation from the Britons as well as the monarch and played a major role in convincing Buckingham Palace to allow Macron to be the first foreign leader to host King Charles.