From left to right, Britain's Queen Camilla and King Charles III pose with French President Emmanuel Macron, and his wife, Brigitte Macron, at the Elysée Palace in Paris on September 20, 2023. The royal couple are on a three-day state visit. Photo by Maya Vidon-White/UPI | License Photo
Sept. 20 (UPI) -- Britain's King Charles III and Queen Camilla arrived in France on Wednesday on a three-day state visit six months after their original visit had to be postponed amid violent national protests over pension reforms.
The king made the announcement in English and French on the royal family's Twitter account accompanied by a video showing the couple being received by Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne at Paris-Orly Airport as they stride across a long red carpet flanked by an honor guard.
Charles and Camilla will head straight to central Paris to join President Emmanuel Macron and wife Brigitte for a ceremony at the Arc de Triomphe, ahead of talks at the Elysée Palace.
Constitutionally, British monarchs must keep their distance from politics, but as two head of state the discussions are expected to be wide-ranging covering international affairs, including North Africa and Ukraine, and artificial intelligence, a French adviser told Politico.
The pair's relationship is one of "friendship and trust," forged through numerous conversations over the past 12 months.
"They share the same interest in a number of important topics. That is why we have included events on biodiversity and climate in the program. The king also enjoys hearing the president's analysis of the big international issues," said the adviser.
The British monarch will be guest of honor at a state dinner Wednesday evening at the Palace of Versailles outside the capital with a guest list ranging from politicians and business leaders to showbiz notables including actors Hugh Grant and Charlotte Gainsbourg and footballer Didier Drogba.
On Thursday, Charles will become the first monarch to address both houses of the French parliament -- delivering part of his speech in French in which he is fluent -- before touring city landmarks, including the renovation of Notre Dame Cathedral and a flower market named for his late mother, Queen Elizabeth II.
On Friday, King Charles and Camilla will head 300 miles southwest to the Atlantic port city of Bordeaux -- twinned with the British port city of Bristol -- which has a sizable British expatriate population.
While there, he is scheduled to meet with emergency workers and community members affected by wildfires in 2022 before wrapping up the trip with visits to an organic vineyard that runs on clean energy and an urban forest.
The king's trip is seen as critical to build on efforts to restore strong Anglo-French relations which took a serious hit from Britain's 2020 departure from the European Union of which France is a founding member and arch proponent.
This week's visit follows an agreement in February that settled a row between London and Brussels over post-Brexit trading arrangement for Northern Ireland and Macron hosting British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak for a high-level summit in March.