A banner mocking the cancellation of King Charles III‘s trip to france earlier this week it was displayed on a cape on the French north coast facing the English Channel. The banner, which read “Sorry Charles, see you later”, was placed by unionists protesting against Emmanuel Macron’s forced pension reforms on Thursday morning.
Another banner addressed to French Prime Minister Elizabeth Borne, whose government passed the reform without a vote in Parliament, read: “Borne, change course.”
The protest took place on Cap Blanc-Nez, one of the closest points to the English coast from the north of France, where demonstrators of the inter-union of Calais held out for a few moments in the face of violent gusts of wind and rain. To install beat the cliff.
Accompanied by his wife Queen Camilla, King Charles was due to make a state visit to France from March 26 to 29, his first trip abroad since his accession to the throne.
But after the trip was postponed due to protests against Macron’s pension reform, the royal couple finally began their first international visit on Wednesday in Berlin.
The King became the first monarch to address Germany’s parliament, the Bundestag, on Thursday as part of a high-profile visit by the UK head of state aimed at bolstering ties between the two European powers.
Speaking to MPs and other dignitaries in the packed lower house, Charles stressed the close bonds between the United Kingdom and Germany going back centuries, including his own family links to the royal House of Hannover, and the present-day economic, scientific, cultural and military cooperation between the two countries.
Charles noted that London and Berlin have provided considerable aid to Ukraine in its efforts to fend off Russia‘s invasion, a point that will appeal to German government officials more used to hearing how their country isn’t doing enough to help Kyiv.
He said: “Germany’s decision to provide so much military support to Ukraine is extremely brave, important and welcome.”
READ MORE: King and Queen Consort confronted by angry protester during tour
Speaking mostly in fluent German, he noted how the intertwined history of the two nations could be seen in the home of the Bundestag itself. The restoration in the 1990s of the former Reichstag building, that was heavily damaged during World War II, was capped with a glass cupola designed by British architect Norman Foster intended as a symbol of transparency and accountability.
“From here the citizens can actually watch their politicians work,” Charles added. “Democracy in action.”
The 74-year-old largely trod on safe territory, making gentle jokes about soccer rivalries, national humor and mutual admiration for each other’s cultures — from the Beatles to Kraftwerk and from Brahms to Byron. Charles briefly touched on the grim history of Nazism and WWII.
Charles and Camilla will visit Hamburg on Friday to pay respects at a memorial to the Kindertransporte, or children’s transports, which saw more than 10,000 Jewish children rescued from Nazi Germany 85 years ago. They will also commemorate the more than 30,000 people — most of them civilians — killed in the Allied bombing of Hamburg in July 1943.
He said: “Heeding the lessons of the past is our sacred responsibility, but it can only be fully discharged through a commitment to our shared future.
“Together we must be vigilant against threats to our values and freedoms, and resolute in our determination to confront them. Together we must strive for the security, prosperity and well-being that our people deserve.”
When Charles finished his speech, lawmakers rose for a long, standing ovation, something rarely seen in Germany’s parliament.
Additional reporting by Maria Ortega
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