IN PICTURES: Charles III welcomed to France on first visit as king

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IN PICTURES: Charles III welcomed to France on first visit as king
Emmanuel Macron and Brigitte Macron (R) greet King Charles III and Queen Camilla at the Elysee Palace. (Photo by HANNAH MCKAY / POOL / AFP)

King Charles III on Wednesday began his first state visit to France as monarch, a rescheduled trip aimed at showing the fundamentals of the cross-Channel alliance remain strong despite a litany of political tensions after Brexit.


The king and Queen Camilla were welcomed at Paris Orly airport by Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne.

French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne greets Britain's King Charles III and Britain's Queen Camilla at Orly Airport. (Photo by Tim Rooke / POOL / AFP)

They were then welcomed by French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte at the Arc de Triomphe monument in central Paris, where they laid wreaths to the countries' war dead at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

King Charles IIIand French President Emmanuel Macron attend a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the Arc de Triomphe. (Photo by Chris Jackson / POOL / AFP)

They then boarded a Citroen DS7 convertible, escorted by 136 horses of the Republican Guard, to head up the Champs-Elysées for the Elysée Palace, where the king took part in talks with Macron on issues including the environment.

(Photo by Yoan VALAT / POOL / AFP)


In the evening the Macrons will host the royal couple at a sumptuous state banquet at Versailles, the palace west of the capital synonymous with French royalty.

The menu will included delicacies including blue lobster cooked as a starter by star chef Anne-Sophie Pic, who has said she was inspired by the tastes of the so called "Sun King" Louis XIV.

Guests at the dinner at the glittering Hall of Mirrors will include Charlotte Gainsbourg, the actor and daughter of Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin, Hugh Grant and French former Arsenal football manager Arsene Wenger.

The official welcoming ceremony at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. (Photo by Thomas SAMSON / AFP)

Macron, who has faced accusations from left-wing opponents of himself behaving like a monarch, will likely be eager to ensure the event proceeds smoothly without showing excess at a time of economic frugality.

"This image, in this context, is obviously fundamentally harmful for Emmanuel Macron even if there are diplomatic imperatives behind it which also play a role," French author and academic Benjamin Morel told AFP.

French Air Force elite acrobatic flying team Patrouille de France and the British Royal Air Force's aerobatic team the "Red Arrows" perform a fly past. (Photo by Thomas SAMSON / AFP)

The Arc de Triomphe was the location for her ceremonial arrival on her last state visit in 2014.


On her first visit, in 1957, she lunched with president Rene Coty in the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles. Charles will address lawmakers in the French Senate on Thursday, again following in the footsteps of his mother who did the same in 2004.

The queen also spent two days in Bordeaux on a state visit in 1992.

King Charles III and French President Emmanuel Macron at the Elysee Palace. (Photo by Ludovic MARIN / POOL / AFP)

Charles' visit is seen as the follow-up to moves by UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to reset relations between the two neighbours following tensions sparked by the UK's exit from the EU.

Coincidentally, Charles arrives one day after Macron held talks with British opposition leader Keir Starmer, whose Labour Party is increasingly confident of being able to oust the ruling Conservatives from power.


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