King Charles is said to be “disappointed” that he will be unable to support the UK’s Brexit reset with France as his trip there has been postponed. The King’s visit to France was supposed to be his first official trip abroad since becoming monarch, and he had been hoping to strengthen diplomatic ties with President Emmanuel Macron after a deal on the Brexit Windsor Framework was reached a few weeks ago.
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The trip had been due to start on Sunday, however on Friday morning it was called off as violent protests over pension reforms continue to grip the country.
A palace source told i: “The King is naturally very disappointed at the cancellation of his and the Queen Consort’s visit to France.
“He was looking forward to meeting with President Macron a great deal and hearing from him how our two great nations are working together to increase our ties even further.”
Both the UK and France saw the visit as an opportunity to improve relations after years of divisive Brexit negotiations.
Buckingham Palace had even reportedly pushed for France to be the first trip abroad for the King, rather than visiting the Commonwealth as had been expected.
Lord Ricketts, the former UK ambassador to France, said that while the King would not be more political, as is frowned upon for the monarch, he wanted to be more “agile” and “active” in responding to world events.
He told the i: “The improvement in relations only began a few months ago, so I suspect it [the state visit] hasn’t been all that long in the planning.
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“I think we’re beginning to see the King’s style, which is different to his mother’s, although very much a kind of evolution from it.
“And perhaps you’ll see him taking a more active role in support of the issues that he is interested in, passionately.”
The timing of the visit and the speed with which the decision was made suggests the King was keen to capitalise on Brexit gains made by Rishi Sunak and the rest of the Cabinet.
King Charles and Mr Macron had also been expected to discuss climate change and environmental issues, an issue he is known to be very passionate about.
Another senior royal source close to the Palace added: “There will be a sense of sadness and frustration for the King, but he will understand the reasoning behind the cancellation.
“Not only do these thing take months of planning, but they will be something the King was really looking forward to.
“That France was chosen as his first overseas visit was something I am sure the King welcomed and he would have been practising his French for sure.
“But he and the Queen Consort are still going to Germany and that will remain a crucially important visit for them both and for Britain.”
King Charles and Camilla, Queen Consort will still travel to Germany next Wednesday as planned, which was supposed to be the next leg of their European tour.