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King Charles’ France trip fails to impress locals, termed not so ‘important and symbolic’


King Charles, accompanied by Queen Camilla, embarked on a state visit to France this week, aiming to mend relations between the UK and France. However, the enthusiasm from the French populace seems to be waning. A contrast has been drawn between King Charles and the late Queen Elizabeth, with the latter being more favourably remembered for her allure and regality.

King Charles and Queen Camilla were the honoured guests at a banquet at the resplendent Versailles Palace. The feast featured a blend of English and French culinary delights, including blue lobster and Bresse poultry. However, the absence of the glamour that Queen Elizabeth once brought to such events was noted by Parisians.

Charles, like his mother, is fluent in French and is expected to reflect on the deep affinity the late queen had for France. But, to many in Paris, these gestures do little to ignite excitement or interest.

A retiree, Mireille Mauve, mentioned that Charles and Camilla do not share the same historical prominence as the late queen.

“He’s just the son, they are old already, we don’t have a long history,” Reuters quoted him as saying.

He believes Camilla is “not so enchanting, she’s a bit dull with her discourse. All this combined together doesn’t create much interest”.

In the UK, recent polls indicate that King Charles is not as revered as his late mother although 60% of the populace still holds a favourable view of him. However, younger Britons are increasingly critical, not just of Charles but also of the concept of the monarchy.

Alexia Aubert, a 15-year-old Parisian, articulated a similar sentiment, saying the British Royal Family had lost much of its symbolic importance since the passing of Queen Elizabeth.

“I think since Elizabeth died, the Royal Family isn’t as important as it was, King Charles isn’t as important and symbolic as Elizabeth, so it doesn’t really matter if he comes or not,” Reuters quoted Alexia as saying.

Edouard Val de Lievre, a local carpenter, sees the British monarchy as merely “part of the folklore in England”.

“He represents the English population but that’s all, nothing special for me,” he added.

(With Reuters inputs)

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Updated: 20 Sep 2023, 10:42 AM IST

Joanna Swanson

Joanna Swanson is Europe correspondent at the Thomson Reuters Foundation based in Brussels covering politics, culture, business, climate change, society, economies and inclusive tech. With specific focus in breaking news, she has covered some of the world's most significant stories.