Status: 21/09/2023, 12:44 p.m.
By: Susanne Kröber
At the state banquet with French President Emmanuel Macron, King Charles III gave a touching speech recalling his parents' earlier visit to France.
Paris – The state visit of King Charles III (74) and Queen Camilla (76) to France was supposed to take place in March, but the date was postponed due to protests and unrest in the country. Now the time had finally come and Paris rolled out the red carpet for the British royal couple. French President Emmanuel Macron (45) and his wife Brigitte Macron (70) welcomed Charles and Camilla at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, followed by a trip along the Champs-Élysées.
A France fan even before birth: King Charles entertains with funny anecdote at the state banquet
On the first evening of the three-day trip to France, a festive state banquet at the Palace of Versailles was on the agenda. More than 150 invited guests, including stars such as Mick Jagger (80), Hugh Grant (63) and Charlotte Gainsbourg (52), fought their way through wind and storm on the dead carpet, one or the other hairstyle was severely affected. Queen Camilla shone untouched in a midnight blue dream robe with a cape from Dior. France's first lady Brigitte Macron had opted for a dress in the same color, King Charles and Emmanuel Macron appeared elegantly in a suit with a bow tie.
No state banquet without speeches – of course, King Charles III also took the floor in the Hall of Mirrors at the Palace of Versailles. He touched those present – in fluent French, mind you – with an anecdote about Prince Philip (99, † 2021) and Queen Elizabeth II (96, † 2022), who was a guest in France 13 times during her reign. "The first official visit together took my parents to France in 1948, shortly after their wedding," says Charles. "They reportedly caused quite a stir, dancing until the wee hours of the morning at the glamorous Chez Carrere on Rue Pierre Charron to the music of Edith Piaf." But Charles became even more personal – Queen Elizabeth was pregnant with him at the time.
I suspect that this left an indelible impression on me six months before I was born – 'La Vie en Rose' is still one of my favourite songs today!
King Charles in his speech at the State Banquet at the Palace of Versailles
Problems before the state banquet in France: for King Charles, the menu had to be changed
Emmanuel Macron also did not miss the opportunity to give a speech and, according to Hello!magazine, how fascinated the French have always been by their British neighbours. He particularly emphasized Winston Churchill (90, † 1965), William Shakespeare (52, † 1616) and the Beatles. With Mick Jagger present, Macron added with a smile: "I should also mention the Rolling Stones." So there was a good atmosphere at the state banquet – but that could have gone differently. King Charles was not very enthusiastic about the announced menu in advance.
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At the state banquet at the Palace of Versailles, King Charles spoke about the visit of his parents Prince Philip and Elizabeth II to Paris in 1948 (right) – at that time the Queen was pregnant with him. (Photomontage) © IMAGO/ABACAPRESS/Gemini Collection
Foie gras and asparagus were on the menu, an absolute no-go for King Charles. Asparagus is only served in season so that it does not have to be flown in, foie gras was banned from royal residences by the British monarch over a year ago. Instead, Michelin-starred chefs Charles and Camilla served porcini mushroom gratin and chicken as a main course, according to the Daily Mail. This compromise would certainly have been in the spirit of Elizabeth II, whose presence was still omnipresent a year after her death. On the first anniversary of the Queen's death, King Charles released a touching message to his late mother. Sources used: hellomagazine.com, dailymail.co.uk