Britain's King Charles III and Britain's Queen Camilla
Britain's King Charles III and Queen Camilla pause for the National Anthem, as they host guests for a Garden Party at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh, on July 4, 2023. Image Credit: AFP

London: King Charles III will travel to France for a state visit next month, Buckingham Palace and the Elysee said Thursday, several months after a scheduled trip was cancelled due to protests.

During the visit from September 20-22, Britain’s head of state and his wife Queen Camilla will visit Paris and Bordeaux, Buckingham Palace said in a statement.

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

In Paris, the office of French President Emmanuel Macron said the visit was “an honour for France at a time when our country will also be hosting the Rugby World Cup”.

“It will bear witness to the depth of the historic ties that unite our two countries and our two peoples, and will help showcase French expertise and know-how”.

The initial visit, which would have been Charles’s first official trip abroad as monarch, was postponed in March at the last minute as angry mass protests against pension reform shook France.

Uproar over legislation to raise the retirement age was inflamed when Macron exercised a controversial executive power to push the plan through parliament without a vote.

Macron took the decision to postpone the visit, so Charles and Camilla travelled directly to Germany where they were expected after France.

Post-Brexit bridges

The royal visit to France in March was due to take place shortly after Prime Minister Rishi Sunak was in Paris for a summit aimed at overcoming years of Brexit tensions.

The upcoming trip will mark the king’s 35th official visit to France.

His late mother Queen Elizabeth II, who was a fluent French speaker, made five state visits to France during her reign, in addition to numerous private visits.

Her first visit to France was in 1948 as the 22-year-old Princess Elizabeth.

In 1957, when she returned to France as queen, thousands lined the streets to cheer her as she travelled through the capital.

The queen died at the royal family’s private Scottish Highland retreat, Balmoral, on September 8 last year aged 96, after a year of declining health.

She had reigned for 70 years, longer than any British monarch.

Charles, 74, was officially crowned on May 6 at a ceremony at Westminster Abbey in central London, attended by Macron and other world leaders.

In addition to his visit to Germany, since his accession last year Charles made a private trip to Romania, where he owns a number of properties. Camilla, 76, did not accompany him.

He owns a number of properties in Transylvania.

British media has reported that Charles is planning a major overseas tour, possibly to Kenya, to improve relations with the Commonwealth group of nations, which he heads.