Red white and bleu: French and British planes fly overhead as King Charles begins three-day visit to France

20 September 2023, 14:30 | Updated: 20 September 2023, 15:51

Charles was welcomed to France by Macron
Charles was welcomed to France by Macron. Picture: Getty

By Yasmeen ElTahan

The King and Queen are in France for a three day trip to Paris and Bordeaux six months after it had to be rescheduled because of widespread rioting across the country.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

The royals have begun their postponed trip to France which was meant to happen in March.

President Emmanuel Macron welcomed King Charles and Queen Camilla with a ceremonial reception at the Arc de Triomphe and a state banquet at the Palace of Versailles.

The King and Queen were greeted by French prime minister Elisabeth Borne, and president Macron.

King and Queen land in France for state visit

God Save the King played out around the Arc de Triomphe by a French choir. The King stood side-by-side with Macron listening to it.

Their tour - and their first state visit - was delayed after violent nationwide riots and demonstrations by those opposed to President Emmanuel Macron's retirement age reforms.

Just a few days before the the King and Queen's visit was due to begin, Bordeaux's town hall was set on fire by protesters.

Demonstrations against the president Macron's pension reform law.
Demonstrations against the president Macron's pension reform law. Picture: Alamy

Germany - meant to be the second leg of the tour - became the historic first state visit destination for Charles and Camilla instead.

The King will become the first British monarch to give a speech from France's senate chamber, to senators and national assembly members.

Read more: Man, 25, charged with trespassing after scaling wall at Royal Mews next to Buckingham Palace

On the agenda for today, the King and Queen will join their hosts, Macron and his wife Brigitte, for a ceremony of remembrance and wreath-laying at the Arc de Triomphe in the middle of Paris.

During the ceremony, the King will be invited by the president Macron to symbolically light the monument's eternal flame which burns in memory of those who died in the First and Second World Wars.

Both the King and Mr Macron will address the 160 guests. This will include high-profile figures chosen for their contribution to British-French relations.

Read more: French-German plan to create EU 'inner circle' with space for the UK as Keir Starmer meets Macron in Paris

Kind Charles III and Queen Camilla at the ceremonial reception in Hamburg, Germany.
Kind Charles III and Queen Camilla at the ceremonial reception in Hamburg, Germany. Picture: Alamy

Speaking on Britain's ties with France a senior official from the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office said that it is an "absolutely massive relationship, both government to government and people to people".

It's what we call a 'full spectrum' relationship, ranging through defence ... trade, migration, and a key part of it is sustainability and our work together on the environment, both with each other and in the world".

The royal couple are also set to meet star athletes as France hosts the Rugby World Cup.