Today, The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall arrived in France to begin a two-day visit to the country which will see them visit Nice and Lyon.
Charles and Camilla are carrying out the mini tour on behalf of the British Government to emphasise the strong bilateral ties between the UK and France. The visit will also highlight the countries’ joint commitment to counter terrorism and security, education and charitable enterprise, as well as France’s rich history in food and wine-making.
Charles and Camilla arrived earlier today in Nice; after leaving a sunny England, the couple were faced with much duller and wetter weather in the French city. Upon arrival at Nice’s Cote d’Azur airport, the Prince and the Duchess were greeted by soldiers and dignitaries, including Lord Llewellyn, Ambassador to France.
The couple’s first engagement of the day was a somber occasion, commemorating those who lost their lives in the 2016 terror attack on Le Promenade des Anglais. During the attack, which took place on the crowded promenade during the Bastille Day celebrations, 86 people lost their lives and many more were injured.
Prince Charles laid flowers at the memorial which has been built near the site of the attack; the flowers were from Highgrove’s garden.
The couple also took time to speak to relatives of those who died in the attack, as well as members of the emergency services who helped in the aftermath and their families. They met Franck Terrier, who tried to stop the attacker; Charles and Camilla told Mr. Terrier that it was an honour to shake his hand.
In the aftermath of the attack, Anne Murris, whose daughter was among the victims, collected 86 stones from the nearby beach and painted each one with the name of one of the victims. Today, she presented The Prince of Wales with a similar stone, painted in the shared red, white and blue colours of the British and French flags; the stone represents remembrance and hope. After being given the stone, Charles said: “I hardly think I merit it.”
Before leaving the memorial, the royal guests also signed a book of condolence at the site.
The Prince and Duchess then travelled to the village of Èze, which is near Nice. The couple were taken on a brief tour of the medieval village, exploring its cobbled streets and speaking to the locals who had gathered to catch a glimpse of the royal guests.
They then visited Fragonard Perfumery, which was founded in 1926; the Perfumery is one of the most famous in the country. The royal couple were treated to a perfume-making masterclass, giving them the chance to learn about different scents and techniques. Charles and Camilla even had the opportunity to make their own perfumes, assisted by Celine Ellena, the company’s ‘nose’.
Fragonard Perfumery is also famous for its soaps. The couple met with some of the employees who are responsible for producing the soaps, and were shown some of Fragonard’s products, including soap shaped like rubber ducks. Prince Charles was even able to try his hand at painting one of the soap ducks – the heir to the throne appeared to be thoroughly enjoying the task!
This evening, The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall returned to Nice to attend a reception at the city’s Villa Massena. The reception is designed to celebrate the relationship between France and the United Kingdom, which is the main focus of the two-day visit.
Prince Charles’ ancestor, Queen Victoria, was known for her love of Nice; she visited the city with relative frequency in her later years. Between 1895 and 1899, Victoria spent her winters in the French city. When Queen Victoria then fell ill after wintering in the Isle of Wight in 1901, it is reported that she lamented: “Oh, if only I were at Nice, I should recover” – she died shortly after.
During the reception, The Queen’s eldest son was made an honorary citizen of Nice by the city’s Mayor, who told the heir to the throne: “Welcome home.” Other recipients of honorary citizenship of the French city include famous artists Marc Chagall and Henri Matisse. Charles also made a speech during the reception.
Tomorrow, The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall will travel to the French city of Lyon. The couple will then spend three days in Greece, again at the request of the British government. For updates on Charles and Camilla’s European visits this week, follow The Crown Chronicles on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.