The King spoke about politics, history and “renewing the pledge of friendship” as he became the first British monarch to address the German parliament.
The overwhelming message of the speech, parts of which were in German, was one of renewing the “special bond of friendship” between the two countries, which he said meant so much to his mother, the late Queen.
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King makes history with bilingual speech
“Germany is the only country worldwide with whom the UK has such a joint unit,” the King said.
“I can hardly begin to express the pride I feel in the strength of the partnership between our two countries.”
Sky’s royal correspondent Laura Bundock said that despite there being no mention of Brexit, the speech focused on “looking ahead” in a post-Brexit age.
Throughout the address, which was intermittently interrupted by rounds of applause from members of the Bundestag, the King did not shy away from making references to the Ukraine invasion and to the Second World War.
“Seventy-five years after the Second World War, it was of great importance to me to stand with Germans in honouring all victims of war and tyranny, and to be the first members of my family to participate in those deeply moving commemorations,” he said.
He described the war in Ukraine as an “unprovoked invasion” that has “inflicted the most unimaginable suffering on so many innocent people” with countless lives being lost.
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“The world has watched in horror – but we have not stood by,” he added, praising both Germany and the UK for being Europe’s two largest financial contributors to the war-torn country.
A message of partnership and alliance
As his speech finished there was a standing ovation from the Bundestag.
For the German politicians watching and listening, the King had met the moment.
He is the first British monarch to address the parliament in Germany.
Delivering his speech in both English and German, it felt personal and powerful.
This was a message of partnership and alliance, of reconciliation after the Second World War, and of solidarity in supporting Ukraine.
There was enormous warmth in his words. He told the parliament how much Germany had meant to his mother, and spoke of his “cherished” family relations in the country.
There was no mention of Brexit or divisions.
This speech was all about renewing relations, reminding both Britain and Germany of their shared histories, common interests and future friendship.
At points the King’s speech amused the congregation. He hailed the two countries for having “laughed together – both at each other, and with each other”, before going on to highlight key cultural moments, including England’s Lionesses beating Germany to win Euro 2022.
He also celebrated their cultural contributions to the world, joking that more recent generations will think of The Beatles and Kraftwerk as much as Brahms and Shakespeare.
The King’s speech has been the most anticipated event on his agenda during the three-day trip to Germany.
After arriving in Berlin on Wednesday, the King spoke at a state banquet hosted by German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, where he pledged to “strengthen the connections” between the UK and Germany.
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The King again addressed guests in both English and German, praising the two countries’ shared values and paying tribute to the “enduring value” of the two countries’ relationship.
He stressed that he was “utterly convinced” the bond between them “will grow ever stronger”.
On Thursday, the King also met with Chancellor Olaf Scholz.
Meanwhile, he is set to tour the Tegel Refugee Centre, where he will visit some of the one million Ukrainian refugees seeking sanctuary in Germany.
The Queen Consort will separately visit a community centre, Refugio House, a meeting place for new Berlin residents, including refugees.