France welcomes King Charles III with full pomp for state visit - GulfToday

France welcomes King Charles III with full pomp for state visit


King Charles III, Queen Camilla, Brigitte Macron and Emmanuel Macron arrive at the Elysee Palace in Paris on Wednesday. AFP

France rolls out the red carpet for British head of state King Charles III on Wednesday, as he begins a rescheduled three-day visit aimed at showing the fundamentals of the cross-Channel alliance remain strong despite a litany of political tensions after Brexit.

The trip was initially planned for March and was supposed to have been Charles' first state visit abroad since becoming monarch on the death of his mother Queen Elizabeth II. But it was shelved due to widespread rioting and strikes across France against pension reforms.

The original itinerary in the capital Paris and the southwestern city of Bordeaux — packed with ceremony and pomp in a country which abolished its monarchy in the 1789 revolution and then executed the king — is largely unchanged.

After landing in Paris, the king and his wife Queen Camilla will be welcomed by French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte at the Arc de Triomphe monument in central Paris, where they will lay wreaths to the countries' war dead.

They will then board a Citroen DS7 convertible, escorted by 136 horses of the Republican Guard, to head up the Champs-Elysees for the Elysee Palace and talks with Macron.

The Macrons will then in the evening host the royal couple at a sumptuous state banquet at Versailles, the palace west of the capital synonymous with French royalty.

A worker decorates an area in front of the Hotel des Invalides in central Paris with flags on Wednesday. AFP

The menu will included delicacies including blue lobster cooked as a starter by star chef Anne-Sophie Pic, who has said she was inspired by the tastes of the so called "Sun King" Louis XIV.

Guests at the dinner at the glittering Hall of Mirrors will include Charlotte Gainsbourg, the actor daughter of Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin, Hugh Grant and French former Arsenal football manager Arsene Wenger.

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