Prince Charles and Camilla to end lockdown to welcome Emmanuel Macron to UK

12 June 2020, 18:20

The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall
The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall. Picture: Getty

By Maddie Goodfellow

The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall will be the first members of the royal family to leave lockdown and attend a major event when they welcome French President Emmanuel Macron to the UK.

Charles and Camilla will travel from Scotland to London, where the official greeting will take place at Clarence House next Thursday.

Clarence House said the meeting is being held to celebrate the 80th anniversary of General Charles de Gaulle's appeal to the French population to resist the German occupation of France during the Second World War.

Mr Macron is also reportedly visiting the capital to honour the city and the country as a whole by awarding London France's highest decoration - Legion d'Honneur.

The prince and duchess have spent almost three months at Birkhall in Scotland, where the heir to the throne recovered from Covid-19 after he contracted the virus in March, suffering with mild symptoms.

Emmanuel Macron will visit the UK next week
Emmanuel Macron will visit the UK next week. Picture: PA

They have been carrying out royal engagements remotely - via video calls or recording video messages of support - and are said to be "pleased" to be welcoming Mr Macron to the country.

But the event is not expected to be the start of a return to regular public duties, although a number of low-key events are also planned for next week.

Mr Macron's visit comes just before the July 1 deadline to extend the Brexit transition period beyond the end of this year.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has insisted he will not seek to prolong current arrangements beyond that point.

Asked if the French president would be subject to quarantine rules, a spokesman for the Prime Minister said: "No, he won't.

"As we set out in the guidelines when they were published, the French delegation will fall within the exempted category of representatives of a foreign country or territory travelling to undertake business in the UK."

Clarence House said in a statement: "The President of the French Republic will visit London on Thursday 18th June 2020 to celebrate the 80th Anniversary of General de Gaulle's 'Appel' to the French population to resist the German occupation of France during WWII.

"On behalf of Her Majesty's Government, Their Royal Highnesses The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall will formally receive President Emmanuel Macron at Clarence House with a Guard of Honour found by Number 7 Company Coldstream Guards accompanied by the Band of the Coldstream Guards."

A Clarence House spokeswoman said Government guidelines on social distancing would be followed and part of the welcome would be staged in the open air.

It is thought the prince and the president have met on a few occasions, the last time in January when the two men sat side by side at a global event in Jerusalem marking the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.

The Queen has been staying at Windsor Castle with the Duke of Edinburgh, where she has continued her state duties, working remotely and holding audiences and meetings via telephone.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have also been carrying out virtual visits to care homes, hospitals and other organisations during the lockdown.