Title: King Charles’ State Visit to Paris Receives Mixed Reception
Subtitle: Large crowds absent as King Charles III and President Macron process down Champs-Élysées
Paris, France – In a state visit that sparked contrasting sentiments, King Charles III and President Emmanuel Macron participated in a procession down the famous Champs-Élysées. However, the absence of large crowds dampened the pomp and pageantry typically associated with such occasions.
The last time a British monarch visited Paris was in 1938 when King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, the future Queen Mother, strengthened ties between the two nations ahead of the impending war. At that time, over 35,000 French soldiers lined the streets, with the city turning out en masse to welcome the royal guests.
However, 85 years later, the atmosphere appeared subdued. Crowds were scarce, primarily composed of tourists rather than locals. The difference in reception was highlighted as King Charles and President Macron paused mid-procession, realizing that there was no one to wave to.
French TV networks tried to showcase devoted fans of the Windsors at each stop of the tour, but the truth remained that public support was lacking. Stéphane Bern, a veteran French royal-watcher, noted before the visit that expecting cheering throngs was futile, explaining that state visits had become increasingly common, leading to decreased interest among the public.
While some argue that the passing of Queen Elizabeth II has affected public interest, as she represented a living link to the past, others attribute the changing world and evolving attitudes towards such events. The connection between King Charles and the French people is perceived to be different due to the changing rituals and fading memories of the two world wars.
Nonetheless, the lack of public enthusiasm did not overshadow the significance or success of the visit. In the Senate chamber, British monarchy’s enduring value became evident, even in a time that challenges traditional institutions. Assembled French parliamentarians expressed awe and reverence towards the royal presence, which, in diplomatic terms, held more weight than a thousand treaties of friendship.
Despite a handful of Communist senators and deputies boycotting the event, citing historical reasons, the majority regarded the King’s presence with bemusement. The emotive field created by King Charles, simply by being the King, captivated the parliamentarians, earning their admiration as he spoke about shared sacrifices, common values, and the importance of building strong alliances.
In conclusion, while the absence of large crowds during King Charles’ state visit to Paris might indicate changing attitudes towards monarchy and state visits, the overall success and importance of the visit were not diminished. The enduring value of the British monarchy prevailed, leaving a lasting impression on French parliamentarians and highlighting the significance of building strong diplomatic ties.