Today, The King and Queen began their first state visit of the reign in Berlin.
Ahead of landing in the German capital, a tweet signed by the couple was shared on the Royal Family channel, expressing they were ‘very much looking forward to meeting all of those who make this country so special’ and that their visit will ‘continue the deepening of the longstanding friendship’ between the UK and Germany.
It was signed ‘Charles R and Camilla R’, with the R standing for Rex and Regina (King and Queen in Latin) respectively.
The State Visit was due to be part of a two-country tour, heading to France first, but the trip had been cancelled due to the ongoing protests against President Macron’s pension reforms.
Flying into Berlin Brandenburg airport, the RAF Voyager was accompanied for the final part of the journey by two German typhoon jets, as a mark of respect. On the ground, the couple received a 21-gun salute and a flypast.
It was then to the centre of Berlin, where Charles and Camilla were greeted at the iconic Brandenburg Gate by President Steinmeier and his wife, Elke Büdenbender. Military honours formed part of the ceremonial welcome, and Charles inspected a Guard of Honour.
Camilla debuted a new brooch for the occasion, worn on a sky blue coat. This piece belonged to Elizabeth II, a confirmation gift from her grandmother, Queen Mary.
The King was the first foreign head of state since the Second World War to be welcomed to Germany with full ceremonial and military honours at this landmark.
Some 1,500 people had gathered to see the welcome, with The King and Queen spending a short time greeting the crowds, with local newspaper Bild joking of the cloudy day: ‘Did Charles bring the British weather with him?’
It was then to Bellevue Palace, the President’s residence, where the couple signed the visitors’ book. Charles cannily used his own pen to prevent a repeat of the Hillsborough Castle signing, where he got visibly frustrated with the leaky tool…
Outside in the gardens, the President and King planted a tree in memory of the late Queen together.
Charles gave the sapling his usual shake for good luck.
Back inside it was time for a sustainability reception at the palace. The King was in his element, talking to young climate activists about their work.
He has campaigned on environmental issues for decades, and Germany is often seen as a green world leader for its sustainable approaches and practices.
Also in attendance was COP 28 President Sultan Al Jaber.
This evening, the day was finished with a state banquet at Bellevue Palace, where The King and Queen were guests of honour.
Former German Chancellor Angela Merkel was amongst the 120 guests, alongside Charles’ German cousins, Prince Philipp zu Hohenlohe-Langenburg – the grandson of Prince Philip’s elder sister Princess Margarita – and Bernhard, Margrave of Baden, the grandson of Philip’s sister, Princess Theodora.
The pair were part of the limited congregation for Prince Philip’s funeral in 2021.
For the white tie occasion, Camilla wore the Boucheron honeycomb tiara, the late Queen’s fringe necklace, her Elizabeth II Royal Family order, Garter Star as a Lady of the Order, and finally her newest honour, the Federal Order of Merit, granted to her today by the President.
King Charles received the same order today.
The menu included pickled carp with Erfurt flower cress, beef broth, free-range chicken with mushrooms and spinach tartlet with root vegetables and mushrooms, with a dessert of prunes with East Frisian black tea and shortbread, with wines from across Germany’s vineyard regions.
A toast was given, and The King made a short speech, stating her would spnd the rest of his reign doing all he could ‘to strengthen the connections between us’.
He talked of the joint effort to help Ukraine after the ‘unprovoked aggression’ of Russia. ‘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,’ he commented.
He also thanked the President for his ‘unforgettable hospitality’.
Charles also spoke of his fond memories of over 40 visits to Germany, including sampling Bavarian sausages at a farmers’ market in Munich, drinking beer, and waltzing around at the Hofbräuhaus with his wife.
Tomorrow, the royal couple will meet with Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Berlin Mayor Franziska Giffey. The K
ing is due to give a speech at the Bundestag (German Parliament), making him the first British Monarch to do so. He will speak in English and German.
The pair will then travel to Hamburg before returning to the UK.