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King Charles III, at a lavish dinner in Versailles as France sinks into crisis

Only Queen Marie Antoinette was missing. The lavish Hall of Mirrors of the Palace of Versailles was the setting chosen by President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte to frame the gala meal during the state visit of Charles III and his wife, Queen Camilla, which brought a call from reconciliation and rapprochement after Brexiton the three-day royal tour in France.

A new “understanding”, after so many disagreements with France and with Europe, after the abandonment of the EU and under the Macron government.

A speech compulsorily written by the British Foreign Office but with disobedient touches of the sovereignpro-European and pro-human migration and pro-biodiversity.

Brexit as a ghost and a way to find a way out of the kingdom’s isolation with Europe. Breaking it was the objective of this decision to make France his first state visit, postponed by civil disobedience in Paris six months ago.

With black tie rigorous, Queen Camilla without a diadem and dressed in blue by Christian Dior like Brigitte Macron, but she signed Vuitton, King Charles III urged – from the grandeur of Versailles – France and the United Kingdom, in French, to “revitalize” their friendship.

“It is up to all of us to revitalize our friendship so that it lives up to the challenges of the 21st century,” said King Charles III. The sovereign also recalled that the French and English had characters in common and cited William the Conqueror, Eleanor of Aquitaine and Jane Birkin.

The gala dinner at the Palace of Versailles, with illustrious guests along with King Charles III. Photo: REUTERS

Charles III spoke in French. The king said he was “moved” by the welcome given to him and the queen. “Once again France and the French people have shown us a warm welcome and deep kindness. “Your generosity reminds us that our family and I were very moved by the tributes paid to my mother, the Queen,” the sovereign continued.

After the toast with a 600 euro champagne, the 160 guests were able to start eating. Blue lobster and crab with a veil of fresh almonds and a touch of gel, poultry from the Bresse, with a corn flavor for an environmentalist like him, marinated in champagne and the same gratin mushrooms as his mother, Queen Elizabeth II , he adored.

The complicity between the kings, Macron and his wife Brigitte, who kissed the queen, was evident. These kings are more tactile and natural than Elizabeth II, who kept her distance.

The master cheesemaker Bernard Antony was fundamental in this new chapter of the long-lived “Entente Cordiale”. He offered a 30-month Comté and a Stichelton, a 100% English blue cheese for an expert like the king.

The gala dinner at the Palace of Versailles, with all the protocol.  Photo: REUTERSThe gala dinner at the Palace of Versailles, with all the protocol. Photo: REUTERS

For dessert, pastry chef Pierre Hermé presented his macaroons with Isfahan roses, redesigned for the occasion. It was composed of a “cooked and raw raspberry compote, a lychee and rose sorbet, a raspberry sorbet, all in a very thin macaroon disk.”

The red carpet was a party for photographers. The kings posing with the Macrons naturally, with time. Mick Jagger and his girlfriend playing with her glasses, the insolent seduction of Charlotte Gainsbourg, the most French of the British and daughter of Jane Birkin, the actress Carole Bouquet, the most powerful men in France, athletes, businessmen and artists.

“There was an absence of real Frenchmen!” Environmental photographer Yann Arthus-Bertrand, present at the dinner, regretted that there were no ordinary citizens among the audience of celebrity guests. “Why isn’t there a postman? Why isn’t there a baker? Why aren’t street French people always invited to these types of places to take advantage of it? ”He asked himself.

The photographer praised an “extraordinary” dinner, with “incredible” food. Yann Arthus-Bertrand and the king have known each other well “for about twenty years”, united by their common interest in the environment.

The dinner offered to Charles III in Versailles received little criticism from the political class, even from the opposition. Only Manuel Bompar, from Francia Insumisa, considered that luxurious food “inappropriate in the face of such an economic crisis.”

Speech in the Senate

A protocol and symbolic day was followed by a political thursday. Under a deluge, King Charles set out for the Senate to meet the French deputies and senators. A great surprise and excitement for the king. Never had a British sovereign spoken in the Senate. He was greeted by long applause and dismissed with a standing ovation.

It has probably been the sovereign’s most successful presentation so far on a state visit, including the one in Berlin.

Before French parliamentarians, King Charles III called on them to work together “to protect the world from the greatest challenge of all: climate change.” He called for France and the United Kingdom to commit to signing an “Agreement for Sustainability” to respond “more effectively” to the “global emergency in terms of climate and biodiversity.”

Inspired by the Entente Cordialea text signed in 1904 by the two countries to smooth over differences at that time, the monarch justified this initiative in the name of the “example of the past” to “raise the immense challenges of the world around us”, in a speech delivered both in French like in English.

The British kings, Charles III and Camilla, this Thursday in the rain in Paris.  Photo: AFP The British kings, Charles III and Camilla, this Thursday in the rain in Paris. Photo: AFP

This statement comes as British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced this Wednesday the postponement of several key measures of the United Kingdom’s climate policy, a decision condemned in economic circles and even among the conservatives in power. Measures that will enrage the sovereign environmentalist but he will be able to say nothing due to the constitutional restrictions on him as head of state.

“Strengthen the relationship”

On the second day of his state visit, King Charles III pledged to French parliamentarians to “do everything in his power to strengthen the essential relationship between the United Kingdom and France.” “The United Kingdom will always be one of France’s closest allies” and “together, our potential is limitless,” he insisted in French.

King Charles III also assured this Thursday of the “unwavering determination” of the United Kingdom and France to see Ukraine “succeed.”

Standing, the parliamentarians applauded Charles III for more than a minute and a half after his speech. “An applause that would make us dream,” commented the president of the French Senate, Gérard Larcher.

Charles III in the Senate managed to create an atmosphere to repair the damage in the terrible relationship with France and Europe, which the former Brexitier ministers Boris Johnson and Liz Truz achieved. He described his visit to France “as a guarantee for the future.”

King Charles III before the Senate of France, this Thursday.  Photo: AFPKing Charles III before the Senate of France, this Thursday. Photo: AFP

A year after his accession to the throne, Charles III must above all leave your mark on the international scene and find his style after 70 years of reign of his mother Elizabeth II. He has started him on this journey.

Ping pong in an immigrant neighborhood

St Denis is a “devilized” neighborhood for the French. Too many migrants, drugs, illegal businesses and the grandeur of the Stade de France, in a heavy atmosphere.

The king and his wife Camilla demonstrated in the St Denis neighborhood what they know how to do masterfully. Speak without differences with all social classes. They visited a school in the most disadvantaged migrant neighborhood in France, multicultural, with a majority of Muslims.

They exchanged, the queen played ping pong with an Olympic player. Afterwards they visited a Portuguese migrant bar. It was before meeting the PSG footballers to finish at the St Denis basilica, where all the royals who were violently liquidated by the revolution. They are part of his family, his ancestors.

From there to atelier of Chanel, specialized in its embroiderers, its button makers, its weavers, true artisans, in the CIX neighborhood, with Queen Camilla weaving on a loom and observing those magnificent fabrics. This time they left applauded.

Queen Camilla plays ping pong with the king and Brigitte Macron at a school in St. Denis.  Photo: REUTERSQueen Camilla plays ping pong with the king and Brigitte Macron at a school in St. Denis. Photo: REUTERS

A short visit to the Isabel II Flower Market, baptized on her last official visit. One of the king’s most beloved spots, where he met the French and the florists, whom he questioned about his favorite plants and some of his discoveries.

Notre Dame, a passion of the king

From there on foot to Notre Dame. The king’s passion for traditional architecture was seen in the cathedral devastated by fire and in the process of being rebuilt, with the help of medieval specialists and British carpenters.

He surprised the French by skipping lunch to arrive at the cathedral under repair, two weeks after General Georgelain, who was leading the works, died doing so. hiking. The French are amazed: the king and queen do not have lunch.

The firefighters who fought the fire and explained it, the craftsmen, the carpenters, the stone specialists, the architects were his interlocutors. The king has a common experience: when he burned down Windsor Palace and he was the first to offer his experience for the reconstruction of Notre Dame.

The cathedral will be reopened by July 2024, for the opening of the Olympic Games. The sovereign entered the quarry and the cathedral while the workers photographed him.

A long day, which ended at the Museum of Natural Sciences, where the king discussed biodiversity and the reform of global finances to adapt to climate change with French businessmen. On Friday to Bordeaux, the last stop of a historic visit.

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