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British royal begins landmark visit to Paris

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British royal begins landmark visit to Paris
Camilla (centre) will be withour Prince Charles (left) or even Kate Middleton (right) on her Paris visit this week. Photo: John Stillwell/AFP
12:52 CEST+02:00
Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, begins her first solo official visit abroad on Monday, a two-day sojourn to Paris that will include a trip to a charity of which she is a leading patron, a tour of the Louvre, and a stop at a haute couture workshop.

"The Duchess is visiting France on her own for the first time without Prince Charles and it is her first official visit abroad on her own," an official from the British embassy told AFP.

"The centrepiece of her visit will be a tour of Emmaus," an international charitable movement founded in Paris in 1949 by the Catholic priest Abbe Pierre to combat poverty and homelessness, he said.

The wife of the heir to the British throne is a president of Emmaus in Britain.

Camilla will visit the Emmaus facility on Monday afternoon in the posh western Paris suburb of Bougival, where Abbe Pierre converted a factory to provide shelter for 30 homeless people.

It now houses a shop selling unwanted and donated goods - ranging from furniture and electronic items to rare books, raising more than €3 million in sales every year on average.

She will visit the communal and kitchen areas and deliver a speech in French before going on to another Emmaus facility in the nearby town of Chatou - a workshop where electric goods are repaired before being sold.

The Duchess of Cornwall will attend a reception in her honour at the British embassy on Monday evening where British writers, actors, chefs, influential fashion designers and entrepreneurs have been invited.

On Tuesday, Camilla will visit a barracks of the Republican Guard near the famed Place de la Bastille for a cavalry display, meander in a city market and
visit a haute couture workshop before making a private one-hour visit to the Louvre.

"It combines the things dear to her heart-- her commitment to Emmaus, her love for horses and her interest in fashion," the official said.

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