A state visit by King Charles III to France has been postponed indefinitely amid widespread protests over President Emmanuel Macron’s pension reforms, hampering the new king’s debut on the international stage.
Charles and his wife Camilla will travel to Germany on Wednesday on what was to be the second stop on his first foreign trip since ascending to the throne in September.
The initial six-day visit to France and Germany, the two largest EU countries, aims to highlight efforts to rebuild relations between Britain and its neighbors after six years of controversy over Brexit. But the prospect of Charles facing demonstrators and piles of rubbish on the streets of Paris forced French and British officials to rethink their plans.
“The King and Queen Consort’s visit to France has been postponed,” British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s office said in a statement. This decision was taken with the consent of all parties after the French President asked the British government to postpone the visit.
Buckingham Palace said a different date would be set.
“Their Majesties look forward to the opportunity to visit France once they find dates,” the palace said in a statement.
French unions on Tuesday called for a day of demonstrations and strikes across the country to protest Macron’s proposal to raise the retirement age from 62 to 64. This was the day the king was due to go to the western city of Bordeaux, with plenty of ceremony. and high levels of security. Protests will hinder his journey.
Charles and Camilla begin their first state visit to Germany on Wednesday, when President Frank-Walter Steinmeier will greet them with full military honors at Berlin’s historic Brandenburg Gate.
On Thursday, the British monarch is scheduled to address the Bundestag, meet German Chancellor Olaf Schultz and talk to refugees and the Ukrainian army.
He travels to Hamburg on Friday, where he will visit the Kindertransport memorial for Jewish children who fled Germany to Britain during the Third Reich, and attend a green energy event before returning to the UK in the evening.