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The protocol puzzle of King Charles III’s visit to France


Jacques Serais, edited by Laura Laplaud / Photo credits: HENRY NICHOLLS / POOL / AFP

Charles III will begin a three-day state visit to France on Wednesday, six months after having had to postpone his visit in the midst of the movement against pension reform for what was to be his first official visit abroad as king. A historic visit with a meticulous protocol.

For his first state visit across the Channel, the King of England Charles III is expected in Paris on Wednesday. Élisabeth Borne will welcome the royal couple at 2 p.m. at Paris-Orly airport. The start of a historic visit with a precise protocol which could well give the executive a cold sweat.

Months of preparation

For less than 48 hours in Paris and less than 24 hours in Bordeaux, the state visit of Charles III and Camilla will have required months of preparations. Every detail was the subject of intense discussions between French and British services.

From its journeys to its means of transport, through the choice of food and wine, from the state dinner, to the selection of the personalities that the royal couple will meet during this stay, France proposes, the crown disposes. Thus, there will be no foie gras with truffles, as Elizabeth II appreciated, Charles having banned it from all royal residences.

The highlight of the ceremonial splendor during these two days was the reception at the Palace of Versailles on Wednesday evening. Each guest will be presented to the king and queen consort in a very codified scenography. Tradition dictates, for example, that the First Lady bows to Charles and Camilla, even if a handshake is considered equally polite by Buckingham Palace. On the other hand, especially no kisses, hand kisses or hugs.