King Charles III arrives in Germany for his first foreign visit as monarch


King Charles III arrived in Germany on Wednesday with the Queen Consort for his first state visit abroad as monarch, after the first part of the trip to France was postponed.

Landing at Berlin Brandenburg Airport on Wednesday afternoon local time for the start of their three-day visit, they were greeted by a salvo of weapons as two military planes conducted a flyover. German officials greeted the King and Queen consort as they stepped off the plane.

German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and his wife, Elke Budenbender, rolled out the red carpet for the visiting monarch. They greeted Charles and Camilla at Pariser Platz with a full ceremonial welcome.

It is the first time that a head of state has been officially welcomed at Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate rather than at Schloss Bellevue, the official residence of the German president. As the royals got out of the car, the crowd cheered, with supporters impatiently waving German and Union Jack flags above their heads.

The national anthems of both nations played, after which the King, accompanied by the President, inspected the guard of honor before delighting the crowds as he walked towards members of the public.

Camilla – wearing a turquoise dress and coat with a hat by Irish hatter Philip Treacy – and accompanied by Budenbender, did the same across Pariser Platz.

There was a notable security presence in central Berlin, with around 900 police deployed Wednesday, according to CNN’s German affiliate n-tv.

Crowds gathered at the Brandenburg Gate included the general public, school groups, members of the Royal British Legion, as well as British Embassy staff and their families.

Among them was Alexander Woskanjan from Berlin. The 35-year-old told CNN he was happy Charles’ first overseas trip of his reign was to Germany.

“After the Second World War, we couldn’t wish that the first destination… (was) Germany. And now so much has normalized and the two armies are working together. Woskanjan added: “It’s good, good vibes. And I think (German) President Frank-Walter Steinmeier will really smile all the time.

King Charles greets people at the Brandenburg Gate on the first day of his state visit to Germany.

For Christophe, 59, who did not give his surname, this was not his first royal event. A fan of the British monarchy for two decades, he visited London last year for the late Queen’s state funeral and Platinum Jubilee celebrations. He told CNN he traveled from Hamburg to welcome the king to Berlin on Wednesday.

“I really hope (the visit) heals the wounds that Brexit has caused to European countries,” he said. “I hope this will strengthen relations between Germany and the United Kingdom.”

And Jürg, 51, was one of the lucky few in the crowd who had a few moments to speak with the king. He told CNN: “The king was one of the first people to talk about pollution and climate change and things like that…I think he might be the right person to be king right now. ”

The royal couple then proceeded to the presidential palace for a state banquet.

Steinmeier described the royal visit as “both a great pleasure and a great honour” in a speech at the banquet.

Noting that King Charles’ state visit comes six years to the day since the UK alerted the EU to its intention to leave the bloc, the German statesman said that “at the At the time, many feared that Brexit would separate the Germans and the British. However, this did not happen.

He added, “The ties between our countries are too strong, the friendships between our people too close, the reconciliation efforts after two world wars are too precious.”

(Left to right) Elke Buedenbender, the Queen Consort, King Charles III and German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier arrive at the State Banquet at Bellevue Palace on Wednesday evening.

Delivering his own speech in a combination of German and English moments later, the King also hailed the ties between the UK and Germany and underlined how the two nations “stand alongside the Ukraine to defend freedom and sovereignty in the face of unprovoked aggression”. ”

King Charles added: “In this regard, I wanted to pay special tribute to the extraordinary hospitality of Germany which has taken in more than a million Ukrainian refugees. This, it seems to me, demonstrates so powerfully the generosity of spirit of the German people.

He also said the relationship “meant a lot to my mum” and thanked for the messages of support after her death last year.

Before arriving in Germany, King Charles and Camilla said in a statement that they were “very much looking forward to meeting everyone who makes this country so special”.

They added, “It is a great joy to be able to continue deepening the long-standing friendship between our two nations.”

The trip should have started in France on Sunday, but the first leg was called off amid strikes and civil unrest in the country over President Emmanuel Macron’s pension reform. The French leader said on Friday his government would have lacked “common sense” to proceed amid the protests, before suggesting the trip could be postponed until early summer.

On Thursday, Charles will address the Bundestag, the lower house of the German parliament. He will then meet Ukrainian refugees who sought refuge in Germany after the Russian invasion.

The following day, the King and Queen Consort will travel to Hamburg, where they will visit the St. Nicholas Memorial, a church which was badly damaged by Allied bombing during World War II. During their stay, the King and the German President will lay wreaths in a short ceremony of remembrance.

Despite the delayed departure, the objectives of the trip remain the same. Traveling at the request of the British government and following an invitation from the German president, the king hopes to renew and strengthen ties after Britain leaves the European Union.

“It is also an opportunity to look to the future and show the many ways our countries are working in partnership, whether to fight climate change; responding to the conflict in Ukraine; seize trade and investment opportunities or share the best of our arts and culture,” Buckingham Palace said in a statement announcing the state visit earlier this month.

Charles last visited Germany as Prince of Wales in 2020 to mark the country’s National Day of Mourning for victims of war.

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