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French workers set to 'sabotage' King Charles' historic State visit

FILE - Prince Charles is seated next to the Queen's crown during the State Opening of Parliament, at the Palace of Westminster in London, Tuesday, May 10, 2022.
FILE - Prince Charles is seated next to the Queen's crown during the State Opening of Parliament, at the Palace of Westminster in London, Tuesday, May 10, 2022. Copyright AP
Copyright AP
By Johan Bodinier
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Due to strikes, union workers could literally refuse to roll out the red carpet for the British monarch when he arrives in Paris.

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An historic first State Visit by King Charles III next week to France could be sabotaged by striking French workers. 

Charles, and Queen Consort Camilla, are due to arrive in Paris on Saturday for four days, on the first leg of a royal tour that later takes in Germany. 

But ongoing strikes that have gripped the country might mean workers literally refuse to roll out the red carpet for the British monarch. 

The King is due to take part in a ceremony with French President Emmanuel Macron at the Arc de Triomphe on Monday morning amidst an estimated 10,000 tonnes of garbage piled up on Parisian boulevards during strikes by garbage collectors. 

And staff at two French organisations which contribute to France's prestige during diplomatic visits by furnishing official palaces of the Republic and the various presidential residences for receptions say they'll also strike during the visit of Charles and Camilla.

Press release by an union representative of the 'Mobilier National' concerning incoming strikes during King Charles III visit.

Union representative Sophie Binet said in a statement that they were "fully aware that at the end of the week the King of England will be welcomed in France and that our services will be called up." 

"We say: this has nothing to do with protocol, it will be without us!" 

On Monday evening, Emmanuel Macron is due to host a lavish banquet for King Charles and Queen Consort Camilla at the opulent Palace of Versailles outside Paris. 

However some media outlets are reporting that last minute contingency plans because of the strikes mean this event could be switched to a different venue. 

The British Embassy in Paris declined to comment on specifics of the upcoming State visit. 

With such a high profile visit apparently in jeopardy of looking decidedly ordinary, without red carpets and fancy furnishings fit for a king, could the French government find a way to get around the strike action? 

Economist Gilles Raveaud said one possiblity could be to contract a private company instead of using the Mobilier National, to provide the red carpets, arrange the furniture and hang the tapestries.

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