Première visite en France du roi Charles III et de la reine Camilla : un programme soigné pour mettre en scène l’amitié franco-britannique

Le roi Charles III et la reine Camilla, près de Balmoral (Ecosse), le 8 septembre 2023, à l’occasion du premier anniversaire du décès de la mère du roi, la reine Elizabeth II.

Le roi Charles III et la reine Camilla effectuent, du mercredi 20 au vendredi 22 septembre, leur première visite officielle en France depuis leur accession au trône, celle-là même initialement prévue en mars mais qui a été repoussée à cause des violences qui ont accompagné l’adoption de la réforme des retraites. Du parvis de Notre-Dame de Paris au Sénat, en passant par la Bibliothèque nationale de France et les vignobles du Bordelais, leur programme a été largement calqué sur ce qui avait été imaginé à l’origine. Le but, pour l’Elysée comme pour Buckingham Palace, est de mettre en scène la proximité et l’amitié entre la France et le Royaume-Uni pour resserrer des liens distendus par le Brexit.

The visit will begin with a flame rekindling ceremony at the Arc de Triomphe on Wednesday afternoon. There will be a state dinner in the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles and a speech by the king in front of parliamentarians at the Senate the following day. This tight schedule includes a strong nod to Queen Camilla’s interest in literature – she runs an online book club called “The Queen’s Reading Room”. On Thursday, she will present a new Franco-British literary prize at the National Library of France, accompanied by former literature professor Brigitte Macron. The king’s longstanding interest in the environment will also be highlighted, with a roundtable discussion on biodiversity at the National Museum of Natural History on Thursday, and a visit to an organic vineyard, Château Smith Haut Lafitte, a renowned Pessac-Léognan estate near Bordeaux on Friday.

The security measures should be significant, both in Paris and Bordeaux. For safety reasons, the king and queen will travel by plane from London to Paris, and then from Paris to Bordeaux. And in the capital of Aquitaine, “there will be a police officer behind every tree,” as stated by the newspaper Sud Ouest, quoting a French official.

Célébrer les liens entre la France et le Royaume-Uni

“This visit is an honor bestowed upon France and showcases the deep historical ties that unite our two countries,” according to the Elysée. It “symbolizes the friendship and trust between the President of the Republic and His Majesty the King, who have closely collaborated in the past to protect biodiversity and combat climate change.” According to Buckingham Palace, “the state visit will highlight the strength of bilateral relations between the United Kingdom and France, demonstrating the various ways in which both countries work together, whether it be promoting and protecting biodiversity, combating climate change, or strengthening security and defense ties in response to the conflict in Ukraine.”

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