King Charles III and President Macron Cement Franco-British Friendship

Amidst a backdrop of historical references, allusions to Queen Elizabeth II, discussions about climate action, and glimpses into the world of sports, King Charles III and President Emmanuel Macron conveyed a message of deep Franco-British “friendship” with a strong focus on “the future” during an opulent dinner held at the Palace of Versailles. This marked a significant moment in King Charles’s visit to France, which commenced with a ceremony at the Arc de Triomphe and a lively interaction with the public.

This three-day excursion in France, the first following King Charles’s coronation, is seen as a symbol of “friendship and trust.” It is viewed as a tribute to shared history while laying the foundation for future endeavors, as underscored by President Macron in his opening remarks at the dinner.

King Charles III, who is proficient in French, followed suit by addressing the gathering with a traditional toast delivered in both French and English. He emphasized the need for all to revitalize their friendship to meet the challenges of the 21st century. In doing so, he called for a “renewal” of the Entente Cordiale, the long-standing Franco-British agreement that will mark its 120th anniversary next April.

In customary fashion, King Charles touched upon pressing issues such as climate change and the defense of Ukraine. President Macron, in turn, acknowledged Brexit, assuring that despite the UK’s departure from the European Union, both nations would continue to collaborate in shaping the continent’s future to address common challenges and serve shared causes.

Amidst light-hearted moments infused with humor and historical references, King Charles playfully remarked, “The French have wine, the English have humor.”

At the dinner table, President Macron was seated between King Charles and Camilla, with Brigitte Macron positioned to the right of the king. The guest list included prominent figures such as iconic Rolling Stones singer Mick Jagger, actor Hugh Grant, actress Charlotte Gainsbourg, and Bernard Arnault, the head of luxury conglomerate LVMH.

The sumptuous feast featured a delectable array of dishes, including blue lobster, Bresse poultry, and rose macaroons, meticulously crafted by renowned chefs and served on Sèvres porcelain. King Charles, keen on establishing his international image a year into his reign, will delve into the more political aspects of his visit with an unprecedented speech from the Senate gallery on Thursday, a historical first for a British monarch.

Furthermore, he will champion a cause close to his heart, environmental conservation, during a roundtable discussion on global warming alongside President Macron at the National Museum of Natural History. This commitment to environmental issues will extend to a visit to Bordeaux on Friday, a region deeply affected by fires in 2022 and home to a significant British community.

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