King and Queen in France: Charles calls for action to step up fight against climate change

King Charles addresses the French Senate
King Charles addresses the French Senate - AFP

The King has called for the UK and France to step up their fight against climate change, branding it “our most existential challenge of all”.

Charles III, 74, used a historic speech in the French Senate to call for a renewed “entente cordiale” to tackle the “biodiversity emergency” more effectively.

Speaking partly in French, the King vowed that he would use his reign to do “whatever I can to strengthen the indispensable relationship” between France and the UK. The King was given a lengthy standing ovation as he arrived at the Senate and was forced to wait for the warm applause to die down before addressing parliamentarians.

He was the first British sovereign ever to speak in the ornate chamber at the Luxembourg Palace.

The address also came on the anniversary of the 1792 formation of the First French Republic and the abolition of the monarchy.

The King’s 18-minute address took in references to British designer Paul Smith, artist Claude Monet, oceanographer Jacques-Yves Cousteau and former French president General de Gaulle.

King Charles in French Senate
King Charles and Queen Camilla arrived in the French capital on Wednesday for a three-day state visit - Getty Images Europe

He also mentioned the “fantastic spectacle” of the Rugby World Cup, which he acknowledged was being followed by tens of thousands of British rugby fans, “my son and daughter-in-law among them!”

And he reiterated his gratitude for the tributes to Elizabeth II by President Emmanuel Macron, which had moved the Royal family “beyond measure”.

But it was to the climate that Charles dedicated the most time – a passion that he and President Macron have long shared.
The speech came a day after Rishi Sunak, the Prime Minister, said he would spare the public the “unacceptable costs” of net zero as he scaled back a string of environmental policies.

However, palace aides played down any suggestion of discord, insisting that such speeches are written “hand in hand” with the Government and that ministers fully supported “all environmental elements” of the visit.

When he ascended the throne, royal sources indicated that the King would continue to champion the environment, “highlighting” rather than campaigning.

King Charles address
The King is an advocate for the environment and spoke at the COP26 summit in Glasgow last year - Ian Vogler/PA

In Paris, His Majesty spoke of the “unprovoked aggression” on our continent and the “resolute solidarity” in which both the UK and France stood with Ukraine. He added: “Just as we stand together against military aggression, so must we strive together to protect the world from our most existential challenge of all – that of global warming, climate change and the catastrophic destruction of nature.”

The challenge is “both great and grave”, he said, but added that it was “increasingly heartening to see the action that is being taken by our governments, our people and, more and more, by the private sector”.

In 2021, Charles launched the Terra Carta, or Earth Charter – a 10-year “recovery plan” for the private sector –that was considered his biggest environmental initiative.

Among the guests at a state banquet held at the Palace of Versailles on Wednesday evening was Brian Moynihan, director general of Bank of America, one of its leading supporters.

As he hailed the “entente cordiale”, Charles urged the assembled politicians and dignitaries not only to “cherish and nurture” the landmark 1904 treaty but to build upon it with more action to protect the planet.

Today, he said, the bond was in their collective hands, having been “passed with pride from father to daughter, mother to son, just as it has been handed through the generations of my own family”.

He added: “Together, our potential is limitless. Let us, therefore, cherish and nurture our entente cordiale. Let us renew it for future generations so that, I would like to propose, it also becomes an Entente pour la Durabilité – in order to tackle the global climate and biodiversity emergency more effectively.”

The King was given a second standing ovation, as he concluded with the words: “As neighbours, friends, partners and allies, there is no challenge to which we cannot rise, as we have done so often in the past. Let us stride forward with hope and courage – and let us do so together.”

King Charles
The King's state visit had been planned for March but was delayed because of riots across the country - EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP

Mr Macron later hailed the King’s green campaigning, paying tribute to his long-standing “conviction” and “preaching” on tackling climate change.

Speaking at a sustainability reception at the Natural History Museum in Paris, the President praised Charles’s work on the environment and the “momentum” he had gathered around biodiversity.

He told the monarch: “I remember at the G7 during which you preached in front of a lot of leaders, so I want to thank you because you started years ago with this conviction and here we are.”

07:13 PM BST

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06:59 PM BST

Why the French are obsessed with our Royal family

The French are obsessed with Britain and its monarchy.

Since the King and Queen touched down in France yesterday, the country’s papers have been awash with coverage.

Macron and Charles are exhibiting a palpable friendliness, and all were impressed with the monarch’s seamless transitions between French and English during his parliamentary address today.

For the full story on why the French are so obsessed with we the British people and our Royals, click here...

06:16 PM BST

King calls for courage to tackle climate change

The King has branded global warming “our most existential challenge” a day after Prime Minister Rishi Sunak scaled back key green efforts to tackle the climate crisis.

Charles made the remarks in a historic address during his state visit to France as he became the first British monarch to speak in the French senate chamber.

He called for a new Entente Cordiale designed to tackle the global climate emergency, and stressed the need to “stride forward with hope and courage”, with his 18-minute long speech - prompting a standing ovation.

French President Emmanuel Macron later paid tribute to the King’s long-standing “conviction” and “preaching” on tackling climate change, as the pair visited a sustainability reception for business leaders and ministers at the Natural History Museum in Paris.

Mr Sunak has faced fierce criticism after weakening a host of pledges on Wednesday designed to help the UK reach net zero by 2050.

05:44 PM BST

Royals visit the flower market in Paris, which was renamed after Queen Elizabeth II when she visited in 2014

05:13 PM BST

Queen battles it out with French First Lady

The Queen enjoyed an impromptu table tennis match with France’s First Lady in Paris today.

See the full story here...

05:06 PM BST

Pictured: Charles addressing parliament

King Charles III addresses parliamentarians in the Senate Chamber, at Luxembourg Palace in Paris
King Charles III addresses parliamentarians in the Senate Chamber, at Luxembourg Palace in Paris - PA

04:43 PM BST

Warm welcome in Notre Dame

The King and Queen received a warm welcome at Notre Dame earlier, where Parisians hung out of a window to greet them.

Onlookers in an upstairs flat opposite the cathedral waved and shouted ‘vive le Roi’, causing the King to crack a smile and wave gleefully back.

Their Majesties were accompanied by President and Madame Macron as they met firefighters who worked to halt the terrible fire at Notre Dame in April 2019.

The King smiled at the firefighters, who joked they were working “as quickly as possible” to meet Macron’s deadline for the reconstruction.

Their majesties then met artisan stonemasons working to repair statues and gargoyles that were damaged during the devastating inferno.

The cathedral has been undergoing restoration works that are not due to be completed until 2024.

The Notre Dame fire broke out on the evening of  April 15, 2019, starting in the attic and destroying the oak roof beams and supporting lead roof.

04:22 PM BST

France state visit

04:17 PM BST

State visit in pictures

French President Emmanuel Macron delivers a speech next to King Charle
French President Emmanuel Macron delivers a speech next to King Charles - AFP
French President Emmanuel Macron delivers a speech next to King Charle
French President Emmanuel Macron delivers a speech next to King Charle - AFP
King meets French firefighter
King meets French firefighter - Shutterstock

04:09 PM BST

Charles presented with gift

Charles was presented with a gift of local honey from the Aubervilliers suburb before meeting local children making milagritos, jewelled Mexican good luck charms.

Nathalie Abscheidt, a jeweller with Goossens running the workshop, asked if he would like to have a go. “Who, me?” he laughed. “Yes, you!” she said.

Encouraged to sit down and add some gem stickers to a heart-shaped piece, he opted for a yellow one, told it would “bring happiness”.

He giggled as he was applauded and told “bravo” for his efforts.

Before leaving, the royal couple were presented with embroidered handkerchiefs bearing their cyphers and an embroidered artwork depicting the wrought iron gate overlooking the Sundial Garden at Highgrove.

The King joked, modestly: “There are much better French gardens.”

03:47 PM BST

Building traditional skills in the UK is of top importance

The King, who was joined on the visit by foreign secretary James Cleverly, spoke of the importance of nurturing traditional skills in the UK, “to try and start building domestic capability.”

Walking through to the Maison Lesage tweed workshop, the Queen examined a wall full of tweed samples, at which point Brigitte Macron urged her: “Choose one, Your Majesty.”

The Queen replied: “All of them!”

Inside the workshop she was invited to have a go at weaving. As she sat down at the loom she said: “This could be a terrible mistake!”

The Queen looked a little nervous, prompting Macron to say: “Your Majesty, I am with you.”

“You can help!” replied Camilla. But after the Queen had a tentative go, Macron told her: “Perfect! You did it.”

The Queen joked: “It’s obviously the next job for me.”

03:26 PM BST

King hailed as 'visionary'

The King was hailed as “visionary” as he visited a crafts centre dedicated to preserving couture skills.

At 19M in the north of Paris he met six graduates of an embroidery course run jointly with Chanel and the Prince’s Foundation who had created an embroidery inspired by his garden at Highgrove.

Eliza Kate Gomersall, 23, from Hildenborough, Kent, talked him through her embroidery work, which was inspired by the Stumpery at the King’s Gloucestershire residence as well as Japanese art.

Looking at her sketches, the King, himself an accomplished painter, asked: “Are these all done in watercolour? Absolutely brilliant.”

She said afterwards: “He was really enthusiastic and interested in keeping this craft alive and keeping it current.”

Elsa Searle-Vincent, 25, from Exeter, told the monarch how her work was based on a moss-covered fountain in his garden.

“What’s fascinating about it,” he replied, “Is how many species there are, and the extraordinary colours – the emeralds.”

Another graduate told the King her work was based on the sunlight on the apple trees in the kitchen garden at Highgrove.

03:10 PM BST

King and Queen visit Parisian flower market

The King and Queen later took a colourful trip down memory lane during a visit to a Parisian flower market named after Elizabeth II.

As the pouring rain eased, Charles and Camilla downed their umbrellas to greet two stall holders who met the late Queen during her final state visit to France in 2014.

Lionel Vivani, who has run his stall for 25 years, told the King he had showed his mother around the market, which was renamed after Elizabeth II following her visit.

Mr Vivani said afterwards: “It was an honour to meet your King.

“I have fond memories of meeting the Queen nearly 10 years ago and I’m glad I am still here for this visit.”

Hugot Michel, who has run his family owned stall in for more than two decades, gave the monarch a laminated picture of the late Queen he took during her visit to his shop.

On the reverse, he had written a note to the King, thanking him for his visit and wishing him “health and happiness”.

He said: “It is a historic day and I was honoured to meet the King.”

Elizabeth II first visited the Marché aux Fleurs in May 1948 as Princess Elizabeth and again for a second time during her last State Visit to France in June 2014.

Then, the market was renamed “The flower market of Queen Elizabeth II” in her honour.

Camilla shakes hands with people as she walks in a street after a visit at the Paris Flower Market
Camilla shakes hands with people as she walks in a street after a visit at the Paris Flower Market - REUTERS

02:54 PM BST

Mayor of Paris with King and Queen on visit Notre Dame

Accompanying the King and Queen on their visit, en route to Notre Dame cathedral, was the Mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, who guided them to a dais to sign the official welcome book known as the ‘Parchment Ceremony.’

It was the first time the ceremony has taken place outside of the Hotel de Ville, the mayor’s office.

Following the signing Charles and Camilla took part in a chaotic walkabout, where around 200 Parisians had gathered to welcome the royal couple.

En route to Notre Dame, where they will inspect the huge renovation project underway following a devastating fire in 2019, Charles and Camilla were once again greeted by President Emmanuel Macron and his wife, Brigitte.

Mr Macron bowed to the Queen and shook Charles’ hand while the First Lady, who had spent the afternoon with Camilla, shook hands.

The two couples then made their way around the corner before entering the church.

02:34 PM BST

Queen meets domestic abuse victims

During the state visit on Thursday, the Queen later peeled off to hear the stories of  “brave” domestic abuse victims who she acknowledged had “been through hell.”

She and Brigitte Macron joined around 10 women in Saint Denis town hall, sitting with them in a circle. The women had all been helped by La Maison des Femmes, a social and medical unit attached to Saint- Denis hospital that is designed as a one-stop-shop for vulnerable women.

As they sat down, Camilla looked around for Mrs Macron before saying: “Oh, there she is. You are right behind me as usual.”

The unit’s founder, Dr Ghada Hatem, introduced some of the women, who each told the Queen their story.

They spoke in French but a translator perched behind Camilla, quietly repeating their words in English.

02:33 PM BST

King's fluent French is praised

King Charles has been praised for his “almost perfect” pronunciation during parts of his speech in Paris which saw him switch effortlessly between fluent French and English.

Malcolm Massey, French language expert at the learning website Babbel, said following the address: “The King uses the comfort of his British English intonations, pace and tone with his relatively ‘good’ French accent. One of his strong points is his pronunciation of the nasal [ɛ̃] for words like un, bien, lien etc. almost perfect.

“Specifically, he accentuates his French vowels with appropriate length to not sound forced, (shows that he’s had experience around French speakers).

“He takes a slower pace compared to English to really focus on correct pronunciation, but he hardly tripped up on any words.”

02:12 PM BST

Pictured: King Charles meets sporting legends

In the latest part of his state visit, King Charles has met Paris Saint Germain’s (PSG) Qatari president Nasser al-Khelaifi, along with the Mayor of Saint-Denis Mathieu Hanotin and the former Chelsea FC player Didier Drogba.

He is visiting Saint-Denis, northern suburb of Paris, home of the Rugby World Cup village, national stadium and venues for next year’s Olympic Games, France.

Paris Saint Germain's Qatari president Nasser al-Khelaifi greets King Charles
Paris Saint Germain's Qatari president Nasser al-Khelaifi greets King Charles - BERTRAND GUAY/Pool via REUTERS

01:38 PM BST

Visit to an inflatable boxing ring

Camilla and Mrs Macron then joined a group of children in an inflatable boxing ring, where she hugged a few of them, before they all posed for a picture.

The Queen encouraged the children to “say cheese”, before adding “fromage”. Charles later visited a nearby coffee shop to speak with representatives from Objectif Emploi, which helps vulnerable young people find work. He greeted Parisian well-wishers who had waited in the rain for him.

However, two people were escorted away by police officers after shouting as the King walked around the town square.

Charles was then met by Qatari businessman Nasser Al Khelaifi, president of football club Paris St Germain (PSG), who presented the King a shirt reading “Charles” and the number three on the back. PSG defender Presnel Kimpembe also shook hands and briefly spoke to the the King.

01:37 PM BST

Queen shows her competitive streak

The Queen showed her competitive side by taking on Brigitte Macron, the French president’s wife, at a game of table tennis.

Camilla was invited to pick up a bat while visiting a community centre in Saint-Denis, northern Paris, on Thursday, as the King met sports stars such as former Chelsea footballer Didier Drogba and French rugby prop Demba Bamba.

It came on the second day of the couple’s state visit to France, which is hosting the Rugby World Cup. Charles laughed as his wife practiced hitting the ball, before the Queen challenged Mrs Macron to a game.

The wife of Emmanuel Macron appeared to get the better of Camilla as they played for a few minutes in a well-spirited match.

The Queen hit the ball into the net several times and joked with Mrs Macron about the game. Charles chatted with Bamba and Welsh rugby player Dan Biggar, who said the King’s visit has given the France a lift.

Bamba added: “Everyone in France is enjoying the World Cup at the minute so it’s great to have this visit now.”

12:35 PM BST

Game, set and match

There are plenty of light-hearted moments on the King and Queen’s state visit to France.

Camilla has been enjoying a spot of ping pong with France’s first lady, Brigitte Macron.

Watch how she got on below.

12:07 PM BST

Watch: King Charles speech senate in full

11:58 AM BST

Pictured: Camilla takes on ping pong in visit to gymnasium

Britain's Queen Camilla plays table tennis as King Charles III looks on during a visit to a gymnasium Thursday in Saint-Denis, outside Paris
Britain's Queen Camilla plays table tennis as King Charles III looks on during a visit to a gymnasium Thursday in Saint-Denis, outside Paris - Thibault Camus/AP

11:57 AM BST

Queen Camilla's speech to reception

Queen Camilla and France’s first lady, Brigitte Macron then joined guests in the Salle Ovale for a reception.

Guests included the writers Sebastian Faulks, the author of Birdsong, Julian Jackson, the biographer of Charles de Gaulle, Edward St Aubyn, author of the Patrick Melrose novels, Joseph Coelho, the children’s laureate as well as students interested in literature.

Camilla gave a speech formally launching the prize, opening and closing her remarks in French. She said:

Ladies and gentlemen, I hope that you will forgive my slightly rusty French, but it is now 60 years since I was a student at the Institut Britanniquein Paris. It is a huge pleasure to be here with Mme Brigitte Macron today, in this wonderful library, to launch the Prix de L’Entente Littéraire. 

I very much hope that this Prize will go a long way to proving that Victor Hugo was unfair to us when he said, “L’Angleterre a deux livres”, “England has two books” – as dearly as we value the Bible and Shakespeare, I promise that we have many more than two, as the esteemed authors gathered here demonstrate…  And, just as in France, our writers every year create new masterpieces which this Prize aims to celebrate.   

Brigitte Macron and I share a deep love of literature and a passion to promote literacy:  through our respective work, we have seen first-hand the life-changing power of books to bring us joy, comfort, companionship, laughter and tears, opening our eyes to others’ experiences and reminding us that we are not alone.  To quote Victor Hugo once again,”Apprendre à lire, c’est allumer du feu ; toute syllabeépelée étincelle, “To learn to read is to light a fire; every syllable that is spelled out is a spark.

Ladies and gentlemen, you have the ability tolight fires with your words and I greatly look forward to reading the winners’ books next year.  Thank you for your support for the Prix de L’Entente Littéraireand may I wish all the entrants bonne chance!     Merci beaucoup, thank you very much.

11:16 AM BST

Queen Camilla gives longest speech yet

Queen Camilla has given her longest speech in “rusty” French, to launch a new Franco-British literary prize with France’s first lady, Brigitte Macron.

At the Bibliothèque Nationale de France (BNF), Queen Camilla, a passionate campaigner on literacy and reading, hailed the power of literature with Madame Macron to mark “The Entente Littéraire Prize” at a reception attended by leading literary figures from both countries.

The new prize will recognise Young Adult (YA) Fiction and allow British and French citizens to share joint literary experiences, “reinforcing cultural ties whilst celebrating the joys of reading”.

Camilla, wearing a grey and white chiffon print dress and white coat by Fiona Clare coat dress, with Chanel shoes and bag and a diamond Cartier brooch, arrived at the BNF’s courtyard, accompanied by the deputy ambassador, Theo Rycroft, where she was joined by Madame Macron and the BNF president, Laurence Engel.

In the salon d’honneur, Camilla and Madame Macron viewed several treasures belonging to the library’s collection that hold a connection to the UK and France perused old manuscripts including the first edition of Les Miserables, Shakespeare texts Canterbury Psalter and Asterix The Gaul.

Looking up at the ornate carved walls and chandelier, Camilla remarked, “It really is a beautiful library.”  While looking at the items, a member of the press let out a loud sneeze, causing Camilla to chuckle.

10:36 AM BST

France 'essential part of fabric' of King's life

The King said he had been “inspired and encouraged” by the example set by both his mother and his grandmother, the Queen Mother, adding: “France has been an essential part of the fabric of my own life for as long as I can remember.”

He added: “Ours is a partnership forged through shared experience, and one which remains utterly vital as, together, we confront the challenges of our world. Quite simply, the United Kingdom will always be one of France’s closest allies and best friends.”

10:34 AM BST

Queen Elizabeth II's 'golden thread will forever shine brightly'

As he spoke of his late mother, the King reiterated a tribute released by the French senate which said “She loved France, France loved her”.

He added: “I can hardly describe how much these words meant to me, and to my entire family.  I can only thank you, and the people of France, for the great kindness you showed to us, and our people, at a time of such grief.

“In the rich and complex tapestry of the relationship between France and the United Kingdom, my mother’s golden thread will forever shine brightly. Let it inspire us all to continue to weave the connections between our two countries - with determination, hope and with love.”

10:33 AM BST

Charles pays tribute to artist collaboration across the Channel

The King has evoked the work of Claude Monet and David Hockney, as he praised the inspiration that French and British artists draw from each other,

He said: “From Claude Monet’s unforgettable pictures of London – and of the fog in London, which so fascinated French visitors – to David Hockney’s most recent iPad depictions of the changing landscapes of Normandy, or the invigorating collaboration between British designer, Paul Smith, and the Picasso Museum in Paris, there is a universality in our shared artistic traditions.”

The monarch noted that as he spoke, his “darling wife” was launching a new UK-France literary prize celebrating exceptional contemporary fiction published in French and English.

10:29 AM BST

Queen apologises for her 'rusty French'

The Queen apologised for her “rusty French” as she delivered a speech partly in the native language to launch a new Franco-UK literary prize in Paris.

Camilla, 76, said it had been 60 years since she had studied at the British Institute in the city.

The Queen, who was joined by First Lady Brigitte Macron said that she hoped the prize would prove that author Victor Hugo was being “somewhat unfair” when he said “L’Angleterre a deux livres”.

She said: “While it is true that we truly appreciate the Bible and Shakespeare, I promise we have more than just two – as this fantastic gathering of esteemed authors demonstrates today.”

The Queen added: “Brigitte Macron and I share a deep love ofliterature and a passion to promote literacy:  through our respective work, we have seen first-hand the life-changing power of books to bring us joy, comfort, companionship, laughter and tears, opening our eyes to others’ experiences and reminding us that we are not alone.

“To quote Victor Hugo once again, “Apprendre à lire, c’est allumer du feu ;toute syllabe épelée étincelle”, “To learn to read is to light a fire; every syllable that is spelled out is a spark.”

10:24 AM BST

France-UK relationship 'as firm as it has ever been'

The King says that on each of his 35 visits to France he has been “struck… by the immense good that can be accomplished when France and the United Kingdom work together.”

He vows to use his reign to do “whatever I can to strengthen the indispensable relationship.”

He hails the “indispensable relationship” between France and the UK, which is “as firm as it has ever been”.

10:23 AM BST

Charles 'moved beyond measure' by French tributes to his mother

Having begun his speech in French, Charles now switches effortlessly to English, before swapping back to fluent French.

He mentions his late mother Queen Elizabeth II, saying: “When my mother died exactly one year ago, my family and I were moved beyond measure by the tributes that were paid to her by France.”

These tributes included French parliament leaders describing her as having “embodied the dignity of our own democracy” and that “as she loved France, France loved her”.

King Charles adds: “I can hardly describe how much these words meant to me and our family, I can only thank you and the people of France for the great kindness you showed to us at a time of such grief.”

10:20 AM BST

King Charles begins his historic speech to the French senate

Charles begins by saying he is “flattered” to have been invited by the presidents of the two chambers in the French parliament to address them.

He says he is “particularly touched” to be there because of “the long continuity of your democracy” and “the enduring friendship in our nations and people”.

The King adds: “The United Kingdom will always be one of France’s closest allies and best friends.”

10:08 AM BST

An introduction fit for a king

King Charles has just been given a lavish introduction on the chamber floor and is about to begin speaking.

The president of the French National Assembly, Yael Braun-Pivet, welcomed the monarch before the assembled politicians and dignitaries.

10:04 AM BST

In pictures: King Charles arrives at French senate

President of the French National Assembly Yael Braun-Pivet (R) and France's Senate President Gerard Larcher (L) greet King Charles
President of the French National Assembly Yael Braun-Pivet (R) and France's Senate President Gerard Larcher (L) greet King Charles - EMMANUEL DUNAND/POOL/AFP
The weather is rainy in Paris this morning
The weather is rainy in Paris this morning - EMMANUEL DUNAND/Pool via REUTERS
Brigitte Macron and Queen Camilla share a joke as she points at an Asterix cartoon during a reception on Thursday
Brigitte Macron and Queen Camilla share a joke as she points at an Asterix cartoon during a reception on Thursday - Chris Jackson/Getty Images

09:55 AM BST

King Charles's speech is due to begin shortly

The French senate in Paris are assembled and waiting to hear from the monarch.

His historic speech is due to begin imminently - stay here for the latest updates.

09:43 AM BST

State visit was delayed because of protests

France was supposed to be King Charles’s first state visit as monarch, but it was cancelled at last minute by Emmanuel Macron, the French president, owing to increasingly violent clashes over his decision to force through pension reforms.

A tour of Paris and Bordeaux was originally due to take place in March, as part of the Government’s “wider strategy” to foster historic ties with Europe.

It was due to coincide with the formal adoption of the Windsor Framework, the new Brexit deal for Northern Ireland, which was formally signed on Friday.

But its cancellation left the UK’s reset with the EU in disarray.

While it is now going ahead six months later, the King has now completed two other state visits in that time - to Germany and Romania.

09:36 AM BST

Heavy rain lashes down as King and Queen arrive

The King will today address the French senate in Paris - the first member of the Royal family to do so, our Royal Editor Victoria Ward writes.

Charles, 74, will make history as the only British monarch to speak inside the senate chamber.

He is expected to speak in French as he hails the close friendship between the UK and France and also pays tribute to his late mother.

Elizabeth II addressed the French Senate in 2004, speaking from the Salle des Conferences, which adjoins the main chamber.

The King and Queen embark on the second day of their state visit in heavy rain.

As the King addresses the senate, the Queen will join forces with First Lady Brigitte Macron to launch a new Franco-British literary prize at the Bibliothèque Nationale de France.

They will later meet sports stars in Saint-Denis, where France is hosting the Rugby World Cup, and where the “wet weather plan” will be rolled out as much of the original plans had been scheduled for outside.

The King and Queen will be joined on the visit by First Lady Brigitte Macron as well as sports stars including Didier Drogba.

09:23 AM BST

King to visit fire-ravaged Notre-Dame Cathedral

In another stop of the itinerary in France, King Charles will visit the fire-ravaged Notre-Dame Cathedral later on Thursday.

His Majesty will join President Macron in front of the cathedral to see the ongoing renovation work aimed at reopening the monument by the end of next year, after it was devastated by a fire in 2019.

“I look forward to visiting that magnificent cathedral ... to see how centuries-old crafts have been revived and passed onto apprentices who are helping to restore Notre-Dame to its former glory,” King Charles said in Versailles.

08:47 AM BST

Monarch to meet sports stars after speech

Following the historic speech, the King and Queen are then due to meet sports stars in Saint-Denis, where France is hosting the Rugby World Cup, as part of their state visit which began on Wednesday.

Charles and Camilla will be joined for the visit by Brigitte Macron as well as sports personalities before visiting a coffee shop on the town square where they will meet beneficiaries of Objectif Emploi, an organisation in Saint-Denis that helps vulnerable young people to find careers, and representatives from The Prince’s Trust International.

08:46 AM BST

King to be greeted with Guard of Honour

A Guard of Honour will line the King’s route to the Salle des Conferences where he will meet representatives from the Senate and National Assembly and sign the visitors’ book before entering the chamber to deliver his address.

Charles is the only British monarch ever to speak from the senate chamber, where he will remark on the close friendship between the UK and France.

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