King Charles III’s first overseas state visit will finally get underway on Wednesday when the British monarch lands in Germany with the Queen Consort for a three-day trip.
The visit should have started on Sunday in France but the first leg was scrapped amid strikes and civil unrest
The French leader said Friday his government would have lacked “common sense” to proceed amid the protests, before suggesting the trip could be rescheduled for the beginning of summer.
Wednesday will see German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and his wife, Elke Budenbender, roll out the red carpet for the visiting monarch. They will greet Charles and Camilla with a ceremonial welcome with full military honors at Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate. The royal couple will later be guests of honor at a state banquet at Schloss Bellevue, the official residence of the German president.
“To him and obviously all Britons, I want to say that we in Germany, in Europe, wish for close and friendly relations with the United Kingdom even after Brexit,” Steinmeier said in a video message ahead of the trip, according to Reuters.
Crowds – some holding flags or wearing repurposed Burger King crowns – were gathering at the capital’s Brandenburg Gate hours before the King’s arrival.
On Thursday, Charles will address the Bundestag, Germany’s lower house of parliament. He’ll then meet some Ukrainian refugees who have sought sanctuary in Germany from the Russian invasion back home.
The following day, the King and Queen Consort will travel to Hamburg, where they will visit St. Nikolai Memorial, a church that was heavily damaged by Allied bombing during World War II. While there, the King and German president will lay wreaths as part of a short remembrance ceremony.
Despite the delayed start, the trip’s goals remain the same. Traveling at the request of the British government and following an invitation from the German president, the King will be hoping to renew and strengthen ties after Britain’s exit from the European Union.
“It is also a chance to look forwards and show the many ways our countries are working in partnership, whether that be to tackle climate change; respond 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.