State Visit to France
Published 20 September 2023
The King and Queen spent three days in France, visiting Paris and Bordeaux to celebrate the strong links between the UK and its neighbour.
Their Majesties travelled to Bordeaux for the third and final day of their State Visit to France.
Town Hall welcome
The King and Queen received a warm welcome outside the Town Hall before moving inside to learn more about the historic twinning of Bordeaux with the UK city of Bristol.
H.M.S. IRON DUKE
Their Majesties went on to board H.M.S. IRON DUKE, a Royal Navy Type 23 Frigate, for a reception to highlight the defence ties between France and the UK. The frigate plays a key role in protecting our nation’s interests, from policing vital trade routes to supporting humanitarian aid missions.
Place de la Bourse
The King and Queen travelled by electric tram from the reception to Place de la Bourse where they attended a festival-style event at the heart of the city’s UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The festival showcased the best of British, French and Bordelais business from sectors including food and drink, technology and innovation, sports and sustainability. A range of musical performances from emerging British and French artists will also take place on the square with around 1,000 invited guests present.
The Experimental Forest
Their Majesties then undertook separate engagements, His Majesty visited an 'Experimental Forest’, hearing about the devastating impact of last year’s forest fires and how the local community has recovered from the disaster and implemented fire prevention and forest resilience strategies.
As well as recording the effect of climate change on forests, the Forest project aims to improve fire prevention techniques, promote better land use and identify innovative techniques and products that can be used beyond a forest environment - in agriculture, for example.
Le Pain de l'Amitié
Meanwhile, The Queen visited Le Pain de l'Amitié, a local Bordeaux charity which houses a subsidised supermarket, kitchen and restaurant, and provides low-cost food and necessities to those in the local community who may be in need. It also acts as a hub for local families to connect and spend time together
Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte
As no visit to Bordeaux would be complete without some of the famous local wine, Their Majesties ended their State Visit with a tour of Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte to learn about sustainable vineyard practices in the Bordeaux wine producing region.
Their Majesties were officially welcomed in spectacular style, beginning their visit with a ceremony at the iconic Arc de Triomphe where a Flypast from the Red Arrows and their French Air Force counterparts symbolised the long-standing alliance between the two nations. The King and President Macron went on to lay a wreath at the Eternal Flame to mark the many sacrifices made by French and British troops in conflicts from the First World War onwards.
At the Elysée Palace - the official residence of the President and Madame Macron - The King and Emmanuel Macron had a bilateral meeting as well as meeting crowds during a brief walkabout.
In the evening, Their Majesties were guests of honour at a State Banquet held at the Palace of Versailles to mark the State Visit.
In his speech at the Banquet, His Majesty spoke mostly in French, looking back on the long history and enduring alliance of the two nations.
Mr. President, in all of this we no can rely on our firm friendship, which is renewed and reinvigorated with each new generation.
The King made history on Day Two of the State Visit, becoming the first member of the British Royal Family to speak to French parliamentarians from the Senate Chamber. His Majesty’s address highlighted the friendship between the UK and France.
His Majesty’s visit to the Senate also paid tribute to Queen Elizabeth II, who visited the Senate in 2004 to speak in the Salle des Conférences, where His Majesty signed the visitors’ book.
The Entente Littéraire Prize
Meanwhile, at the Bibliothèque Nationale de France (BNF), The Queen and Madame Macron marked the launch of a new U.K.-France literary prize – ‘The Entente Littéraire Prize’ - at a reception attended by notable literary figures from both countries.
The event celebrated the importance of literature and the literary connections between the UK and France.
‘The Entente Littéraire Prize’ will recognise Young Adult (YA) Fiction and allow UK and French citizens to share joint literary experiences, reinforcing cultural ties whilst celebrating the joys of reading.
In the afternoon, The King and Queen visited Saint-Denis, the home of the Rugby World Cup village, as France hosts the Rugby World Cup and Paris prepares to host the Olympics and Paralympics next year.
The visit celebrated the important role sport can play in bringing communities closer together and enriching the lives of young people.
Their Majesties were joined for the visit by Madame Macron, as well as Saint-Denis residents and well-known sports stars from the area.
Their Majesties went on to visit ‘Le 19M’ Campus, accompanied by Madame Macron, to learn about the organisation’s work to promote education, creativity and inclusion through teaching young people traditional ‘haute couture’ skills such as embroidery, pinning and producing tweed.
Le 19M Campus is situated between Paris and the suburb of Aubervilliers. ‘M’ stands for the words Mode, Mains, Métiers d’art (craft), Maisons, and Manufactures. The Campus is now home to eleven craft houses, with nearly 600 experts working to preserve traditional artisanal skills by teaching young people via apprenticeships and educational programmes.
Le 19M Campus also houses a gallery and exhibition space which regularly welcomes families, schoolchildren, students, young apprentices, and local community organisations.
During Their Majesties’ visit, The King and Queen will see first-hand how young people from both France and the United Kingdom are benefitting from a new Métiers d’Art Fellowship Programme launched in February 2023 by The Prince’s Foundation and Chanel.
The Programme enables young people to learn and practice traditional textile manufacturing and skills. A first cohort of British students has spent time at le 19M campus as part of the programme over the past few months.
Their Majesties visited a central Paris flower market named after Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth and met local florists. The market was formally renamed during Her Late Majesty’s visit in 2014.
This visit also served as the formal welcome to the city from the Mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, also known as the ‘Parchment Ceremony.’ This was the first time the ceremony has taken place outside of the Hotel de Ville.
Notre Dame Cathedral
The King and Queen visited Notre Dame, which has been undergoing restoration works since the devastating fire in April 2019. Outside the Cathedral, Their Majesties, accompanied by President and Madame Macron, met firefighters who worked to halt the fire, and heard from craftspeople working on the restoration.
The King's speech at the State Banquet for the Republic of Korea
As our nations strive towards a harmony between progress and preservation, between the past and the present, we can look to the future with great confidence as our peoples...
The Queen's speech at The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition 2023
Well done to each and every one of you – you are quite brilliant and I have, as ever, enormously enjoyed reading your entries.
Charities founded by His Majesty The King as The Prince of Wales
Further information about the State Visit of the President of the Republic of Korea
Remarks by His Majesty The King at the United Nations Office Nairobi, Kenya
As we look ahead to COP twenty-eight in another months time, we must remember what President Ruto said at the Africa Climate Summit – “we go far when we go together”.
A Speech by His Majesty The King at the State Banquet, Kenya
We both take considerable pride in renewing the ties between the United Kingdom and Kenya, a country that has long held such special meaning for my family.
The Queen's speech at the launch of the Prix de L’Entente Littéraire at the Bibliothèque Nationale de France
Brigitte Macron and I share a deep love of literature and a passion to promote literacy: through our respective work, we have seen first-hand the life-changing power of books...
The King's speech at the French Senate
Today, in confronting the greatest challenges of our time, we continue the work of those who came before us. When General de Gaulle spoke to the French people from London in...
The King's speech during the State Banquet at Versailles
Mr. President, in all of this we can rely on our firm friendship, which is renewed and reinvigorated with each new generation.
The King's message of condolence following the devastation caused by Storm Daniel.
I admire greatly all those who are engaged tirelessly in the rescue efforts in such dire conditions, and praise their selfless bravery.
A message from The King on the first anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II's Passing07 September 2023
The King's message regarding the states of emergency declared in the Northwest Territories and British Columbia
Our admiration is unbounded for the tireless work of local officials, volunteers and first responders.
The King's message to the Lionesses following the result of the World Cup final
To have reached the final at all is an immense tribute to your skill, determination and team spirit in the finest sporting tradition.
The King's message to President Biden following the devastation caused by the wildfires in Hawai’i
Dear Mr. President, My wife and I were utterly horrified to hear of the catastrophic wildfires currently burning in Maui, Hawai’i. We can only begin to imagine the scale of...
A message from The King to mark The Bahamas' 50th anniversary of independence
From Andros to San Salvador, Eleuthera to Inagua, Grand Bahama to Nassau and across the beautiful family islands of the Commonwealth of Bahamas, my wife and I send you all our...