Protest fears as security stepped up for King Charles' visit to France

The Local France
The Local France - [email protected] • 22 Mar, 2023 Updated Wed 22 Mar 2023 12:54 CEST
Protest fears as security stepped up for King Charles' visit to France
King Charles III and Queen Consort Camilla start their three-day State visit to France on Sunday. (Photo by Jordan Pettitt / POOL / AFP)

Officials in France are concerned that the three-day State visit of Britain’s King Charles III could become a target for pension reform protesters.


Security will be high for the monarch’s first official trip abroad following his accession on the death of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, last September. 

During the three-day French trip, beginning on Sunday, Charles and Queen Consort Camilla will join President Emmanuel Macron for a ceremony of remembrance and wreath laying at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. The king will make an address to the Senate, while Queen Consort Camilla and French first lady Brigitte Macron will officially open the new Manet and Degas exhibition at the Musee d'Orsay.

The royal couple will be guests of honour at a state banquet at the Palace of Versailles hosted by the President, and will also visit Bordeaux, to “witness first-hand the devastation caused by last summer's wildfires” and visit an organic vineyard, the palace said.


It has been reported that the king - an ardent environmentalist - intends to travel to the Atlantic coast city by TGV train.

French authorities have advised the king to avoid crowds during his visit, according to reports, amid fears that demonstrators against French pension reforms may take advantage of the high-profile visit, while a massive police presence will be in place for the ceremony at the Arc de Triomphe.

Officials are also braced for protests blocking the rail line to Bordeaux ahead of his arrival in the city.

"All départements along the Paris-Bordeaux TGV line will be on alert, from the préfet to the police, including the fire department and hospitals,” police told BFM TV.

But travel plans within the city - where unconfirmed reports suggest the entourage are expected to use the tram - may also be hit. One union official has told 20 Minutes that, “we will make sure that there is no tram”.

Prominent Green MP Sandrine Rousseau said the royal visit should be cancelled.

It was "unbelievable" that the president would dine with the monarch at the Versailles Palace outside Paris "while the people are protesting in the streets", she told BFM.

After three days in France, King Charles and Queen Consort Camilla will travel to Germany.


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