Cyprus Mail

Queen Camilla, Brigitte Macron play table tennis amid state visit

britain's king charles first state visit to france
Britain's Queen Camilla plays table tennis next to King Charles and Brigitte Macron as they meet local youth sports associations in Saint-Denis near Paris

King Charles underscored the importance of the relationship between Britain and France and called for a renewed “Entente Cordiale” to tackle climate change, on the second day of a state visit to France.

Both nations hope the visit will help turn the page on years of tensions since Britain’s 2020 exit from the EU.

There were light moments too, with Queen Camilla and President Emmanuel Macron’s wife, Brigitte, trying their hand at table tennis as French youngsters looked on.

Here’s the latest:

* Camilla also tried her hand at weaving at French luxury house Chanel’s 19M workshop, with Brigitte Macron and Chanel CEO Leena Nair watching.

* Charles received a jersey from French soccer team Paris Saint-Germain, bearing his name and the number three, in a nod to his title King Charles III. Club President Nasser Al-Khelaifi presented the jersey to the king, as he continued his visit in Saint-Denis, outside Paris.

* Queen Camilla and French President Emmanuel Macron’s wife Brigitte played table tennis together at a sports centre outside of Paris – not that successfully.

With Brigitte dressed in red, Camilla in white and the tennis table being blue, this offered a display of the colours of both the French and British flags.

The royal couple and Brigitte Macron chatted with youngsters at the Saint-Denis sports centre.

* King Charles received a standing ovation following his speech at the French senate, the first by a British monarch to representatives of both houses of the French parliament.

* Charles spoke in flawless French, turning to English only for short parts of the speech.

* On foreign policy, he said: “Together we are unwavering in our determination that Ukraine will triumph.”

* On joint responsibility: “Together our potential is limitless. This is why we must cherish and maintain our ‘Entente Cordiale’ for future generations so that it also becomes an ‘entente’ for sustainability to respond more effectively to the global emergency in terms of climate and biodiversity.”

* Charles was referring to the “Entente Cordiale” of the early 20th century that smoothed over diplomatic relations between the European powerhouses.

* About his mother, the late Queen Elizabeth: “When my mother died last year, my family and I were moved, beyond measure, by the tributes paid to her throughout France.”

* French politicians took their phones out to snap pictures of Charles at the start of speech.

* “The United Kingdom will always be one of France’s closest allies and one of its best friends,” Charles said. “My belief in the indispensable relationship between our countries is as firm as it has ever been.”

* Later in the day, Charles and Camilla, will visit a central Paris flower market named after Charles’ mother, the late Queen Elizabeth.

* Charles and Camilla will then visit the restoration works at Notre-Dame cathedral, which was ravaged by a fire in 2019.

French President Emmanuel Macron and Charles have shared correspondence and insight on the restoration of the cathedral.

* The visit has been covered extensively by the media in France, while pictures of the visit appeared on the front page of nearly all Britain’s national newspapers, heralding a new “Entente Cordiale” between the two nations.

* On the first day of his visit, on Wednesday, Charles said in a toast at a state banquet in the palace of Versailles that: “We must reinvigorate our friendship so that it is up to the challenges of the 21st century.”

* In his own toast, Macron said: “Despite Brexit and because our ties are so old, I know that we will continue to write together part of our continent’s history.”

* Charles had meant for his first state visit abroad as king to be to France, but a trip planned for March was cancelled due to tense French protests over pension reforms, much to Macron’s embarrassment.

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