King Charles Will Travel to Germany for First Visit as Monarch
LONDON — King Charles III of Britain will travel to Germany on Wednesday for his first trip abroad as monarch, after strikes and protests in France led to the cancellation of his planned state visit there.
During a three-day visit to Berlin and Hamburg, the king and his wife, Camilla, the queen consort, will attend a state banquet, hosted by President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and his wife, Elke Büdenbender, at Bellevue Palace,Germany’spresidential residence, according to a statement from Buckingham Palace.
On Thursday, Charles will address Germany’s parliament, the Bundestag, and will then meet with refugees who have recently arrived from Ukraine. On Friday, Charles and Camilla will take the train to Hamburg, where they will visit a monument commemorating Kindertransport, the effort from 1938 and 1940 that brought about 10,000 Jewish children to safety in Britain from Nazi Germany.
The cancellation of the France leg of the trip represented an uncomfortable moment for the country’s president, Emmanuel Macron, who had been scheduled to receive the king and queen consort in Paris on Sunday.
The king’s visit to France would have involved a lavish state banquet at the Palace of Versailles, a move that would have been particularly ill-timed for Mr. Macron, who is facing strikes, demonstrations and potentially violent protests over his plan to raise the legal retirement age to 64 from 62. Mr. Macron said last week that it would have been a mistake to host a state visit “in the middle of demonstrations.” He said Britain and France would work on organizing a new visit in the early summer.
In traveling to Germany, the biggest economy in Europe, for his first royal visit, Charles is emphasizing Britain’s intention to strengthen ties with the European Union after Britain’s exit from the bloc caused diplomatic ties to fray.
The British royal family has a long history of strong ties to Germany. George I, who ruled from 1714 to 1727, was originally from Hanover, in what would become Germany. He succeeded Queen Anne, his second cousin, who died childless. (Her closer family members were barred from the British throne because they were Roman Catholic.)
In 1917, King George V formed the House of Windsor, renouncing the German name of the royal house, Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, as anti-German sentiment grew during World War I. That name had come into the family in 1840 with the marriage of Queen Victoria to Prince Albert, whose father was the Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.
Charles last addressed the Bundestag during the throes of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, when he was still prince, and began his speech in German. He was most recently in Hamburg in 1995 for a ceremony commemorating the end of World War II.
Christopher F. Schuetze contributed reporting from Berlin.