King to make first overseas visits to France and Germany

The King will make his first overseas visits as monarch to France and Germany at the end of March.

Buckingham Palace has confirmed the King and Queen Consort will travel to Paris before visiting Berlin and Hamburg on their six-day trip starting on 26 March.

The King will address the Bundestag in Berlin, making him the first British monarch to make a speech in the German parliament.

The Queen Consort and King will be hosted by French President Emmanuel Macron and German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

The choice of European countries for the King’s first state visits is significant and has likely been organised to help restore frayed relations since Brexit.

It’s been confirmed that the pair will attend a state banquet at the Elysee Palace in Paris.

Mr Macron spoke of the Queen’s affection for France when he attended her state funeral in September.

The Queen made many trips to France throughout her reign. Her first was in 1957, four years after her coronation. Her last state visit was in June 2014, when she visited Paris and Normandy with the Duke of Edinburgh.

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The couple attended events to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings.

In 60 years, the Queen undertook 261 official overseas visits, including 78 state visits, to 116 different countries.

The Queen was warmly regarded in Germany, which she visited on a number of occasions. Perhaps most famously in 1965, a state visit which many considered a watershed moment in British-German reconciliations after the Second World War.

Her last trip to Germany was in 2015 when she visited the site of the former Nazi concentration camp at Bergen-Belsen.

The King’s upcoming state visits had been widely reported in both France and Germany, but have only now been confirmed by Buckingham Palace.

The news comes just days after the King met the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, at Windsor Castle.

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The meeting, which took place hours after a new Brexit deal on Northern Ireland was agreed, caused some controversy. Critics said it was constitutionally ill-judged and placed the King too close to politics.