How Protests in France Could Affect King Charles and Queen Camilla's First Overseas Visit of New Reign
King Charles and Queen Camilla were set to attend a state banquet at Versailles hosted by French President Emmanuel Macron and First Lady Brigitte Macron
King Charles and Queen Camilla could be adjusting the agenda of their upcoming state visit to France as members of the public protest President Emmanuel Macron's plan to raise the retirement age.
PEOPLE understands that Buckingham Palace is closely monitoring the situation and taking advice from the U.K.'s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office as well as French officials. Logistics of the tour, which is set to begin on Sunday in France, may be impacted.
The Associated Press reports that 234 people were arrested in Paris this week, mostly for setting garbage on fire in the streets. Garbage collectors and other workers are striking over Macron's bold move to push through legislation raising the retirement age from 62 to 64 without a vote in Parliament. Reuters reports that Tuesday marked the sixth night of unrest in the country. Macron, 45, is reportedly eager to "calm things down," per the outlet.
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Earlier this month, Buckingham Palace announced that King Charles, 74, and Queen Camilla, 75, would visit France and Germany at the end of March for the first overseas visits of the new royal reign.
The tour was set to run from March 26 to March 31, packing between 25 to 30 different engagements across the two countries in six days. Highlights in France were due to include a spectacular state banquet at Versailles hosted by President Macron and his wife, Brigitte Macron, and a ceremony of Remembrance and wreath laying at the Arc de Triomphe.
While Charles has officially traveled the world for decades in his role as the Prince of Wales while supporting his late mother Queen Elizabeth, this is his first landmark tour as head of state and monarch.
"The visit will celebrate the U.K.'s relationship with France and Germany, marking our shared histories, culture and values," a palace spokesperson said when the trip was announced. "It is also a chance to look forwards and show the many ways our countries are working in partnership, whether that be to tackle climate change; respond to the conflict in Ukraine; seize trade and investment opportunities or share the best of our arts and culture."
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"As well as speaking to the strength of the United Kingdom's bilateral relationships with France and Germany, Their Majesties' visit will include engagements highlighting the importance of sustainability and community — key themes which have been embraced by citizens of all our countries. There will also be opportunities to reflect on the sacrifices and challenges of our shared past, out of which has come an enduring legacy of cooperation and reconciliation," the spokesperson continued.
Some royal watchers had speculated that King Charles and Queen Camilla would concentrate on one of the countries of the Commonwealth for the new monarch's first official tour. However, the two European capitals have apparently been chosen to underscore historical links with European neighbors in the aftermath of the U.K. leaving the European Union and the war on Ukraine.
Palace officials point out that all travel is at the request of the British government and follows invitations from the two countries as well.
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