King pledges to strengthen ‘indispensable relationship’ between UK and France
Charles became the only British monarch ever to speak from the French senate chamber.
The King has pledged to do whatever he can to strengthen the “indispensable relationship” between the UK and France in a historic address to the nation’s senate.
Charles became the only British monarch ever to speak from the French senate chamber on the second day of his state visit to Paris and Bordeaux.
In a speech delivered in English and French, the King told of the “friendship and warm familiarity” between the two countries, as well as the unity on issues such as climate change and foreign military aggression.
He said: “For the time that is granted to me as King, I pledge to do whatever I can to strengthen the indispensable relationship between the United Kingdom and France – and, today, I invite you to join me in this endeavour. Together, our potential is limitless.
“Let us, therefore, cherish and nurture our entente cordiale. Let us renew it for future generations so that, I would like to propose, it also becomes an entente pour la durabilite (agreement for sustainability) – in order to tackle the global climate and biodiversity emergency more effectively.
“A commitment to each other, and to the values we so proudly share; a commitment inspired by the example of the past, and emboldened to grapple with the immense challenges in the world around us.
“As neighbours, friends, partners and allies, there is no challenge to which we cannot rise, as we have done so often in the past. Let us stride forward with hope and courage – and let us do so together.”
The King opened his speech in French thanking members for his welcome and said: “I need hardly say how greatly honoured I am to have been invited by the Presidents of both Houses to speak here, in this hallowed chamber, which has been the upper house of French politics in one form or another since 1799.”
Charles told senators: “Quite simply, the United Kingdom will always be one of France’s closest allies and best friends.”
The King was welcomed by both the president of the senate and leader of the national assembly as well as a guard of honour.
He then signed visitors’ books before proceeding to the senate chamber, where his speech took place.
Charles was met with a standing ovation as he finished his speech.
Meanwhile, Queen Camilla and Brigitte Macron, the wife of French President Emmanuel Macron, launched a new Franco-British literary prize at the Bibliotheque Nationale de France.
It came on the second day of the couple’s state visit to the country, which is currently hosting the Rugby World Cup.
The King and Queen will join Mrs Macron at the Rugby World Cup village in Saint-Denis, northern Paris, on Thursday morning.
Charles, in his address to the senate, said: “Millions of us visit each other’s countries every year – a joy that we are now rediscovering after the disruption wrought by the pandemic.
“Tens of thousands of British rugby fans are currently following their national team around France, enjoying the fantastic spectacle of the Rugby World Cup – my son and daughter-in-law among them.
“Even when our national teams are drawn up on opposite ends of the pitch, they do so with mutual admiration and a shared commitment to the rules of the game – on which I will say only ‘pas de coups bas, et que le meilleur gagne!’
“And, of course, hundreds of thousands of our fellow citizens have chosen to live their lives permanently in each other’s countries.
“This vibrant exchange between our people makes us immeasurably stronger, happier and more prosperous.”