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King Charles visits Germany in first trip abroad as monarch

March 29, 2023

The UK head of state is set to meet with German leaders and address the Bundestag, the first British monarch to do so.

Britain's King Charles III (L) and Britain's Camilla, Queen Consort get off their plane after landing at Berlin Brandenburg Airport in Schoenefeld near Berlin, on March 29, 2023.
Charles and Camilla landed in Berlin on Wednesday afternoonImage: ODD ANDERSEN/AFP

Britain's King Charles III arrived in Germany on Wednesday afternoon, starting his first trip abroad as monarch. He is joined by his wife, Queen Consort Camilla.

The king had been scheduled to visit France first, but that part of the journey was canceled due to the ongoing and widespread protests against President Emmanuel Macron's pension reforms.

President Frank-Walter Steinmeier thanked Charles for choosing Germany as his first foreign trip after becoming the new British king, claiming it to be "an important signal for German-British relations."

What are the plans for the royal visit?

Charles and Camilla were greeted by Steinmeier and his wife, Elke Büdenbender, at Berlin's Brandenburg Gate with a ceremonial welcome including military honors. It is to be followed by a state dinner in the evening at Bellevue Palace. 

At Brandenburg Gate, the German public had the chance to come face-to-face with the royal couple. Those wishing to see the new king were advised to turn up early, with the space only accommodating some 1,500 spectators. Members of the public began gathering at the landmark on Wednesday morning.

The two heads of state are expected to discuss sustainability and the transition to renewable energy. Environmental protection is one of the king's pet causes.

On Thursday, the royal couple will meet with Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Berlin Mayor Franziska Giffey. Charles is also due to give a speech to Germany's parliament, the Bundestag, making him the first British monarch to do so.

The pair will then travel to Hamburg before returning to the UK.

A regular visitor to Germany, the British Embassy in Berlin has said that Charles has visited the country some 40 times as prince. 

Charles' coronation will be held on May 6, some eight months after the death of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II.

Mending EU ties after Brexit

The visit is also meant to improve relations with European Union countries, after years of tension over pre and post-Brexit negotiations.

British Ambassador to Berlin Jill Gallard told Deutschlandfunk that Charles' visit aimed to show that though Britain has left the European Union, it has not left Europe. She added that with Britain and Germany currently sharing several objectives, the timing of the visit was right.

"This visit was a recommendation from the British government," Gallard told the German radio station on Wednesday morning. "And it is no coincidence that this will be the first visit to Europe."

Both countries have recently been closely coordinating their responses to the Russian war on Ukraine.

es/sms (AFP, dpa)

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