There is this question that often comes up when we see two public figures exchanging a few words in front of the cameras: what can they tell each other? She returned this Thursday morning, in the oval room of the BNF (Richelieu site), when Queen Camilla and Brigitte Macron arrived together, giving the appearance of discussing quite naturally. What do they say to each other there, before facing the media steamroller that will last until the evening? "The blue lobster served at Versailles was exquisite", "it's raining cats and dogs"...? We will not ask, but we say that all the same, they have a lot in common. The Queen consort of England and the First Lady of France are of the same generation, both divorced; have suffered, each in its own way, the fire of criticism, for a love deemed impossible.
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They also share a passion for reading, which they confirm this Wednesday by launching a new Franco-British prize, the Prix de l'Entente littéraire, which will officially see the light of day in 2024. "A day without reading, for the queen or for me, it does not exist," said Brigitte Macron during her speech at the BNF, behind a pair of glasses with smoked lenses and a long jacket in red tweed signed Chanel. "I sincerely hope that this prize will prove that Victor Hugo was sometimes unfair to us when he said 'England has two books'," added - not without humor - Queen Camilla, after apologizing for her French "a little rusty". "Even if we truly enjoy The Bible and Shakespeare, I promise you we have much more than two." She remained for a long time in the shadow of Charles, discreet, almost fearful behind her husband; It now appears serene, solid by its new status.
In a white coat dress designed by her fetish seamstress Fiona Clare, the queen lends herself to the game of handshakes and small talks so mastered by members of the royal family. In the assembly, French and British authors, some students of literature, and a Stéphane Bern apparently moved, almost losing his words in front of the one whose life he nevertheless details every day on radio or television. We do not judge, we who have made neither reverence nor politeness; only a timid inappropriate "hello", yielding to the royal charm of Camilla's tender hand.
The official visit of Charles III and Queen Camilla in France
View slideshow40 photos
View slideshow40 photos
Aboard a motorcycle taxi in the pouring rain, we tried to follow the secure convoy, to which Charles III was attached, to the town hall of Saint-Denis. While the king enjoys a crowd bath in the village of the Rugby World Cup, and even boldly enters the local pub, the Khedive, Queen Camilla and Brigitte Macron have a quiet appointment with Dr. Ghada Hatem, gynecologist founder of the Women's House. There, cut off from the outpouring and the cameras, six women victims of violence testify to their care by this medico-social unit created in 2016, without which, they all insist, they would "no longer be here". "I was followed here for two and a half years after suffering violence in my childhood," one of them begins timidly. It will always remain a place where I will have my place." "You have been through hell and you are all extremely brave," the Queen replies. There will never be enough 'women's houses' to help all those who need it."
Royal travel obliges, the whole district is cordoned off. Delivery drivers are stuck on a street corner with their warm dishes, soggy joggers want to take a (hot) shower, and late students, their subway. Soon, the passage of the King's Bentley and the famous royal salute revive the smiles. We suddenly hear shouting "Your Higness!" - but also moaning, "they had to come to Saint-Denis...?" Yes, their teams were obviously keen on it. As much as at their next stop, Porte d'Aubervilliers. It is here that the 19M, temple of fashion crafts, created at the initiative of Chanel in 2022, is located. The choice of this place is not a coincidence, the Prince's Trust, the charity founded by Charles (still Prince of Wales) in 1976, has long supported sustainable fashion, and has signed a partnership with the said fashion house. It is here that we welcome King Charles, always in the rain, but especially under a thunderous applause, echoing from the corridors of each floor of the building in the inner garden, leaving the son of Elizabeth II ... charmed. In a laughing mood (and laughter is really communicative), he willingly lends himself to the various workshops for the manufacture of handicrafts, congratulated for a little nothing by all, when his wife, accompanied by Brigitte Macron visits more soberly the tweed section of Maison Lesage, whose workshops are hosted at 19M. Of course, he receives with gratitude the gift box offered by the town hall of Aubervilliers - a t-shirt and local herbs - which he entrusts as early to his faithful squire Jonathan Thompson, the man of the shadows who has become a star in the United Kingdom thanks to his advantageous physique, this kilt that he never leaves, and this nickname that his fanclub gave him, "Major Johnny Hot T". But no time for a selfie, Brigitte Macron is gone for other adventures, the Bentley is about to leave, Camilla returns under her transparent umbrella. It's almost tea time.