King Charles thanks Germany 'from the bottom of my heart' for reaction to Queen Elizabeth's death in historic visit

30 March 2023, 11:26 | Updated: 30 March 2023, 12:14

Charles gave a historic speech to the German parliament
Charles gave a historic speech to the German parliament. Picture: Alamy/Getty

By Will Taylor

King Charles and the royal family were "deeply moved" by Germany's reaction to the death of his mother, the monarch has told the German parliament in a historic speech.

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Charles spoke in German and English as he opened his speech to the packed Bundestag in his first visit as head of state.

It is the first time a British monarch has addressed the parliament while it is in session.

"My family and I were deeply moved by the reaction of Germany after the death of my mother," he told German MPs.

"The condolences from the Bundestag, and seeing the Brandenburg Gate in the colours of the Union Jack, and seeing all the entries in the book of condolences from right across the country… was of deep consolation.

"On behalf of my entire family, I would like to thank you from the bottom of my heart for the deep sympathies from the people of Germany.

Read more: 'A friendship that mattered to my mother': Charles and Camilla's tribute to the Queen as monarch hails UK-German bond

Charles is visting Germany in his first visit as monarch
Charles is visting Germany in his first visit as monarch. Picture: Alamy

Charles is visiting Germany in his first trip since becoming monarch, having cancelled the France leg of his tour to Europe because of ongoing riots over the pension age there.

He was greeted outside the Bundestag by Olaf Scholz, the German chancellor.

Read more: King Charles and Queen Consort Camilla arrive in Germany after RAF Voyager escorted by two fighter jets

In his speech, he noted how the Bundestag building, damaged during the Soviet capture of Berlin in the Second World War, was rebuilt by a British architect for the newly reunified Germany.

"This friendship meant so much to my beloved mother, the late Queen, who often spoke of the 15 official visits she made to Germany, including her five state visits," he told the politicians to repeated applause.

King Charles visited a market as part of his trip to Germany
King Charles visited a market as part of his trip to Germany. Picture: Getty

He also referenced the rivalry between Britain and Germany, and brought up the England women's national team's triumph in last year's Euros.

"It was something very special that the Lionesses won against Germany and became European Champions," he said to laughter.

"Both teams fought for equality of the sexes and in doing so they have inspired a whole generation above and beyond sporting achievements."

He added: "We have laughed at each other and with each other."

The King finished by saying he was about to visit Hamburg to pay respects to the kindertransport, which transported thousands of Jewish children from Germany to the UK so they could flee Nazi persecution.

He then received a lengthy standing ovation from the politicians.

On Wednesday, the first day of his visit, Charles hailed the "enduring value" of the UK's bond with Germany, saying it is a "friendship which mattered greatly to my mother" at a banquet in Berlin .

In his bilingual speech at the Bellevue Palace in Berlin, the King said Germany and the UK "stand side by side in protecting and advancing our shared democratic values", in reference to their support for Ukraine.

He praised Germany's "extraordinary hospitality" for Ukraine's refugees, with the country taking in more than a million since Russia launched its invasion.

He had earlier received a red carpet reception at the Brandenburg Gate.

Updates to follow