Will Charles III be a collateral victim of the mobilizations against the pension reform in France? King Charles is due to arrive on Sunday March 26 on a state visit, which risks being disrupted by protests, described as “french riots” (French riots) by part of the British press.
For his first trip since taking the throne in September 2022, the English monarch, accompanied by his wife Queen Camilla, will stay until Wednesday March 29 before traveling to Germany until Friday March 31. Charles III must in particular attend with Emmanuel Macron at a ceremony under the Arc de Triomphe and was to participate in a banquet at the Palace of Versailles before going to Bordeaux.
His displacement will be targeted by the French unions. “There will be initiatives around this” royal visit, a source at the CGT railway workers’ union told AFP on Thursday, confirming that the king’s visit was “in the sights” of the demonstrators.
The British government has in any case indicated this Thursday not to be informed of a change of program concerning the visit of Charles III to France despite the social movement. “I am not aware of any plans to change the plan,” a Downing Street spokesman said.
The environmental deputy Sandrine Rousseau asked Wednesday for the cancellation of the king’s visit, because, according to her, the priority of the president of the Republic must be to “discuss with the society which is rising” against the pension reform. “Incredible, we are going to have Emmanuel Macron, the Republican monarch, who is going to receive Charles III, who is going to go down the Champs-Elysées, who is going to have dinner in Versailles, while the people in the street are demonstrating”, s’ is she outraged on BFMTV and RMC.
The situation in France “closely followed” according to Buckingham Palace
“We are going to welcome it with a good old general strike,” former NPA presidential candidate Olivier Besancenot told franceinfo on Tuesday. as noted the Daily Mail. A source at Buckingham Palace told the English daily that the situation in France “is being monitored”, but there are no immediate plans to cancel the trip.
The situation in France is “worrying” and Buckingham “is following the situation closely”, also reports the Daily Beast. “We should perhaps think twice about it, Majesty”, writes the British correspondent of the American newspaper, feigning concern by quoting the slogan heard in certain French demonstrations: “Louis XVI, we have beheaded him! Macron, we can do it again!”
However, additional logistical precautions are taken. King Charles’ lavish banquet at the Palace of Versailles could be ‘moved due to threats of violence’, reports the Daily Mail. This event was to be the scintillating highlight of the state visit.
The red carpet will still be rolled out well for the King of England Charles III despite the appeal of strikers against the pension reform not to do so, assured this Thursday the National Furniture. “The National Furniture is in charge of rolling out this famous red carpet and non-striking agents, who represent the vast majority of our workforce, will take care of it,” the communications director of this public establishment told AFP. Loic Turpin. He was reacting to a press release from the CGT union the day before stating: “We will not provide the furnishings, the red carpets, or the flags.”
No tram travel in Bordeaux
As pointed out the Daily Mail, Charles III’s move to Bordeaux could also be disrupted. Charles and Camilla are due to arrive at Bordeaux Saint-Jean train station in Bordeaux at 12 p.m. on Tuesday, before taking a tram to reach the city center. But this mode of transport now seems abandoned.
“It is almost certain that the king will not be able to take the tram”, declared with South West Pascal Mesgueni, from the CFTC union (French Confederation of Christian Workers). According to him, taking the tram would be a “huge risk” for the English monarch, as recalled the Daily Mail. “It’s a grassroots request. No driver will want to drive it,” he said. “And don’t forget the missile risk. It’s going to be way too complicated.”
As noted the JDD, the royal couple will then be received at the Town Hall by the ecologist mayor Pierre Hurmic. Then, Charles III and Camilla will inaugurate the new British consulate in Bordeaux. Next, the Queen Consort will visit a homeless help center, while Charles III will travel to Landiras, south of Bordeaux, to observe the damage caused by last summer’s forest fires. The couple will meet to visit an organic vineyard before returning to Paris by train on Tuesday evening. If he can.
Laurent Nunez “very serene”
The day before, Monday, a ceremony with Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte Macron is planned at the Arc de Triomphe, with a wreath laying at the tomb of the unknown soldier. A procession is then organized on the Champs-Elysées before a meeting between the English king and the French leader at the Elysée. It could be “a high-risk magnet for protesters determined to publicly humiliate Emmanuel Macron during the visit”, reports the Daily Mail.
Calling himself “very serene”, the prefect of police of Paris, Laurent Nunez, explained Tuesday on BFM TV that “this type of event is always ultra-secure” and that there will be “a security device which makes it possible to deal with all situations”.
Sign that some details of the visit of Charles III could be changed at the last minute, a source close to Emmanuel Macron told AFP, on condition of anonymity, that “the program is still being developed by the two parts”. Press arrangements are still pending, a rarity for a trip of such diplomatic importance.