Wednesday, 27 Sep 2023

Charles to visit France for first time as King next month after social unrest

King Charles and Queen Camilla attend Sandringham Flower Show

King Charles is set to make his first official visit as Monarch to France in September, according to reports.

Although an exact date has not yet been released, it is due to be announced at the end of the month, according to franceinfo. 

The 74-year-old Sovereign had been due to visit the nation earlier this year but the trip was postponed due to social unrest over  President Emmanuel Macron’s pension reform. 

Charles was due to visit for three days from March 26 to 29 but the Elysée Palace said the French and British governments had made the decision to postpone the visit “in order to be able to welcome His Majesty King Charles III in conditions that reflect our friendly relationship”. 

This year, France has seen some of the worst street violence in the nation’s history after the President made controversial pension changes to the law, including raising the retirement age to 64.

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In the days before the King was due to arrive, on March 23, more than one million protesters took part in demonstrations across the nation with 119,000 marching in Paris alone.

Several dozen people were injured after a town hall was targeted and set on fire in Bordeaux, one of the cities the King was due to visit. 

According to Downing Street, France had requested that the trip, which was to have been the King’s first official foreign visit since his accession to the throne, be postponed. 

After his trip to France was cancelled, King Charles travelled to Germany as part of his international touring schedule.

At the end of June, more violence erupted on the streets of France for days on end after a 17-year-old boy of North African descent – known as Nahem M – was shot dead by police during a traffic stop on the outskirts of Paris.

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The Elysée Palace declined to comment on the visit now reportedly taking place in September, which, according to Sud-Ouest, would include two stops in Paris and Bordeaux.

According to the regional daily news outlet, Charles and Queen Camilla will now be welcomed in France around 20 September, with a stopover in Bordeaux scheduled for 22 September.

September promises to be a busy month with Pope Francis also expected in Marseille on September 22 and 23, while France is hosting the Rugby World Cup. 

It is thought there is a chance the Prince of Wales will accompany his father to watch the Wales rugby match against Fiji in Bordeaux.

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