A Speech by His Majesty The King at the State Banquet at Schloss Bellevue, Berlin

Published 29 March 2023

Over all these years, and in so many ways, I have been struck by the warmth of the friendship between our nations and by the vitality of our partnership

Sehr geehrter Herr Bundespräsident, 

Ich weiss nicht, wie ich Ihnen für Ihre überaus freundlichen Worte und für Ihre unvergessliche Gastfreundschaft in diesem festlichen Rahmen danken soll. 

  Es ist wunderbar, heute Abend in so grosser Gesellschaft zu sein. Und es ist schön von Ihnen, dass Sie gekommensind und mich nicht mit einem „Dinner for One“ alleine lassen!      

Meine Frau und ich sind tief gerührt, wie herzlich wir in Deutschland empfangen wurden - genau wie bei jedem unsererfrüheren Besuche in diesem ganz besonderen Land. 

Ich habe festgestellt, dass ich tatsächlich mehr als vierzigmal in Deutschland gewesen bin – darin zeigt sich natürlich, wie wichtig mir unsere Beziehungen sind, aber auch, so fürchte ich, wie lange es mich schon gibt! 

An jeden dieser Besuche habe ich Erinnerungen, an die ich sehr gerne zurückdenke.  

I think, Mr President, of the particular kindness and friendship which you and Frau Büdenbender showed to both my wife and myself on our last visits to Berlin in 2019 and 2020.

I also think fondly of the time my wife and I sampled Bavarian sausages at a farmers’ market in Munich, and found ourselves drinking beer and waltzing around at the Hofbräuhaus!  I think I can understand why St Boniface, an English monk, who is famous for having preached in Germany, is also a patron saint of brewers!

I recall, in particular, how much I have learnt from my visits over the years about organic and agro-ecological farming, and I credit German expertise with greatly improving my own farms and soil.  Indeed, I think we all have something to learn from Germany’s enduring respect for what Goethe called ‘die erhabene Sprache der Natur’ [the sublime language of nature].  

Over all these years, and in so many ways, I have been struck by the warmth of the friendship between our nations and by the vitality of our partnership in countless areas.   

It was, Mr President, a friendship which mattered greatly to my mother, The late Queen, who cared deeply about the bond between our two countries.  I did want to thank you all, once again, for the profoundly touching messages of support and affection we received from so many people in Germany following the sadness of her death last year. Ladies and Gentlemen, your kindness meant more to my family and myself than I can possibly express.  

The relationship between Germany and the United Kingdom matters greatly to me, too, Mr President, and I am more convinced than ever of its enduring value to us all. It means so much to us that my wife and I could come to Germany for this very first overseas tour of my reign. I can only assure you, that throughout the time that is granted to me as King, I will do all I can to strengthen the connections between us.  

In this, I know that I will be supporting the extraordinary efforts of countless people who contribute so much to the relationship between the United Kingdom and Germany. 

As I look around the room this evening, I see such talented and dedicated individuals who embody the breadth of our partnership in so many fields - engineering, technology, science, the environment, the arts, education and so much more.  

Our countries are working together to promote global health, to help developing countries overcome their challenges and prosper, and to advance the urgent and vital journey towards net zero.

And, of course, we stand side-by-side in protecting and advancing our shared democratic values. This is epitomised so clearly today as we stand together with Ukraine in defence of freedom and sovereignty in the face of unprovoked aggression.  In this regard, I did want to pay a particular tribute to Germany’s extraordinary hospitality in hosting over one million Ukrainian refugees. This, it seems to me, so powerfully demonstrates the generosity of spirit of the German people.  

Herr Bundespräsident, Deutschland und das Vereinigte Königreich haben ein grosses Interesse an der Zukunft des jeweils anderen Landes. Unsere Beziehungen werden noch stärker werden, davon bin ich fest überzeugt, wenn wir gemeinsam auf eine nachhaltigere Zukunft in Wohlstand und Sicherheit hinarbeiten. Möge die Esche, die ich heuteNachmittag in Ihrem schönen Garten gepflanzt habe, ein kleines Symbol für das Wachsen und Erblühen unsererPartnerschaft sein.

Ich hoffe von ganzem Herzen, dass meine Frau und ich lange genug leben werden, damit wir in diese wunderbare Stadtzurückkommen und sehen können, wie unser Baum gewachsen ist, und damit wir weiter unseren Teil zu dieserkostbaren Freundschaft zwischen unseren beiden Ländern beitragen können.  Erheben Sie bitte mit mir das Glas: Auf Sie, Herr Bundespräsident, und Frau Büdenbender. Und auf eine Freundschaft, die nicht nur herzlich ist, sondern auch  — im wahrsten Sinne des Wortes — nachhaltig. Zum Wohl!

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