King Charles‘s state visit to France has been postponed in light of protests planned next week over the French government’s controversial pension reforms.
The British monarch and Queen Consort were due to travel to France on Sunday for a trip that would see them visit Paris and Bordeaux, however a decision to postpone the visit was made after protests turned violent in some areas on Thursday.
French President Emmanuel Macron said “common sense and friendship” required delaying the king’s visit, adding that it likely would have become a protest target and created a “detestable situation”.
“We would not be serious … to make a state visit in the middle of protests,” the French leader said, speaking at a news conference after a summit in Brussels.
Macron condemned the violent behavior that has taken place at some of the protests against his plan to raise France’s retirement age from 62 to 64, saying “violence has no place in a democracy.”
Clashes between groups of protesters angry over proposed pension reforms and police broke out after workers staged a national strike throughout Thursday, with flare-ups in Paris and regional capitals.
In Bordeaux, demonstrators set fire to the entrance of the city hall during skirmishes with police, according to CNN affiliate BFMTV.
“In view of yesterday’s announcement of a new national day of action against pension reform on Tuesday, March 28 in France, the visit of King Charles III, originally scheduled for March 26-29 in our country, will be postponed,” the Élysée Palace announced in a statement Friday.
“This decision was taken by the French and British governments, after a telephone exchange between the President of the Republic and the King this morning, in order to be able to welcome His Majesty King Charles III in conditions that correspond to our friendly relationship. This state visit will be rescheduled as soon as possible,” the statement continued.
Buckingham Palace also confirmed the postponement in a statement on Friday morning.
“The King and The Queen Consort’s State Visit to France has been postponed. Their Majesties greatly look forward to the opportunity to visit France as soon as dates can be found,” a Buckingham Palace spokesperson told CNN.
A UK government spokesperson also confirmed the King would not travel to France next week, adding that “this decision was taken with the consent of all parties, after the President of France asked the British Government to postpone the visit.”
French labor unions have called for a day of nationwide protests and strikes on Tuesday in protest at Macron’s proposal to raise the retirement age from 62 to 64.
That is the day when the king had been due to travel to the western city of Bordeaux, with much security and ceremony, and the protests would have complicated his travel.
Charles and Camilla will now start their first state visit on Wednesday in Germany, where they will be welcomed with military honors by President Frank-Walter Steinmeier at Berlin’s landmark Brandenburg Gate.
On Thursday, the British king is set to give a speech to the Bundestag, meet German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and talk to Ukrainian refugees and military.
He goes to Hamburg on Friday, where he will visit the Kindertransport memorial for Jewish children who fled from Germany to Britain during the Third Reich, and attend a green energy event before returning to the UK in the evening.
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Last modified: July 30, 2022
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