A special relationship: Britain's Charles III visits Germany
Charles III and his wife Camilla, the queen consort, will be in Germany from Wednesday for three days. They face a busy schedule. Charles, a regular in Germany, will be familiar with many of the stops.
Ceremonial welcome at Brandenburg Gate
The royal couple will, for the first time, be welcomed with military honors at the Brandenburg Gate. No state guest has been greeted at this Berlin landmark before, according to the office of the German president. The special welcome symbolizes the close relationship between Germany and the United Kingdom. Charles and Camilla made a stop at the Brandenburg Gate in 2019.
Almost best friends
King Charles and German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier have developed a friendly relationship over the course of their many meetings. Here, the two met in May 2019 in front of the entrance to Bellevue Palace, the president's official residence. This is where a state banquet in honor of the royal guests is planned for the evening of March 29.
The British monarch is also scheduled to visit the Bundestag. In November 2020, he gave a speech there on Remembrance Day — in German, but to an almost empty parliament due to COVID-19 pandemic restrictions. This time, he is expected to face a full hall.
Visit to Hamburg
On day two of the state visit, King Charles is set to tour a German-British military unit in Brandenburg that specializes in bridge construction. Accompanied by the German president, he will then travel to Hamburg. In the port of Hamburg, the king, who has had a keen interest in environmental protection for decades, will be shown some local climate-friendly technologies.
Remembrance at St. Nikolai Church
Codenamed Operation Gomorrah, Britain and the US flew massive air raids on Hamburg in July 1943. More than 35,000 people died in the so-called Hamburg firestorm, and almost 1 million people were left homeless. The ruins of St. Nikolai church still stand today as a World War II memorial. King Charles and Steinmeier will lay wreaths at the church in remembrance.
1987 Hamburg visit
During their visit, King Charles and Camilla will also sign the city's Golden Book at Hamburg City Hall. Charles signed the book way back in November 1987 when he visited the German port city with then wife, Diana (above). The couple was invited to visit the city by the former lord mayor of Hamburg, Klaus von Dohnanyi (far left in the photo).
Honored guest in 2009
The king has also been to Bellevue Palace before, at the invitation of former German President Horst Köhler in 2009. At the time, he was also accompanied by Camilla. Their marriage is considered a victory of love over protocol in the British royal family.
Visits galore to Germany
Since 1962, Charles has visited Germany more than 40 times, which the king himself noted when reiterating his close ties with the country. Most of his stays have been private, though he rarely left without meeting with his fans. Here he jokes with onlookers in Munich in 1995 before paying a visit to the famous Viktualienmarkt farmers market.
Germans happy without a monarchy
According to a Forsa survey conducted on the occasion of the king's visit, many Germans welcome royalty from afar yet wouldn't care to have royals of their own. Only 8% of Germans would like to see a German monarchy. Most citizens are content to have a federal president as their state representative.
Royal family's German ancestors
The English royal family has deep Teutonic ties. In 1714, George Louis, elector of Hanover, became the first king of German origin to succeed to the English crown. Over the past 300 years, strong ties have continued to be forged between the English throne and German noble families. King Charles, too, has German ancestry. He even speaks fluent German — with a genteel British accent.