King Charles III's State visit to France postponed amid ongoing civil unrest

Britain's King Charles III waves as he arrives for a visit to the new European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) in London, Thursday, March 23, 2023.
Britain's King Charles III waves as he arrives for a visit to the new European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) in London, Thursday, March 23, 2023. Copyright AP
Copyright AP
By Euronews with AP, AFP
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President Macron had a phone call with King Charles on Friday morning about the visit, which became untenable as fresh strikes were announced for next week.


The first State visit by Britain's King Charles III and Queen Consort Camilla to France, has been postponed, amid ongoing civil unrest

French Prime Minister Emmanuel Macron’s office made the announcement on Friday morning, after a week of strike action intensified, and brought a million people to the streets in protest at the government's plans to reform pensions . 

"Given the announcement yesterday of a new general strike against pension reform next Tuesday (March 28), King Charles III's visit - initially planned between March 26 to March 29 in our country will be postponed," the statement from Macron's office said. 

Charles and Camilla had been scheduled to arrive in France on Sunday, before continuing to Germany on Wednesday. The German part of the trip is still going ahead as planned. 

The decision to postpone the royal visit was "made this morning by French and UK governments following a phone call between the president of the French Republic and the King, in order to be able to host his Majesty King Charles III in conditions that correspond to our friendly relationship" the Élysée Palace said. 

"This State visit will be rescheduled as soon as possible."

French ministers apparently caught out by announcement

The announcement that the visit of King Charles would be postponed apparently caught French ministers by surprise. 

Earlier Friday morning, France's Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin said the country "will be ready to welcome in excellent conditions", despite mobilising thousands of security forces for the four-day visit. 

"For Paris, to allow King Charles to do everything that France must allow him to do, there are 4,000 police and gendarmes mobilised in particular for the descent of the Champs-Elysées and for his visits to the French", Darmanin on television.

King Charles and Queen Consort Camilla had been scheduled to to attend a lavish state banquet hosted by Macron at the opulent Palace of Versaille on the outskirts of Paris. 

An estimated 10,000 tonnes of garbage has piled up on the street of the French capital in recent days, meaning that Charles and Camilla could have been touring some of the city's most iconic landmarks against a backdrop of rotting trash. 

They royal couple were also due to take a high speed TGV train trip to Bordeaux, at a time when French railways have been routinely disrupted by strike action. 

The British Embassy in Paris has been approached for comment.

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