The King achieved a historic milestone by becoming the first British monarch to address the French senate, while Queen Camilla shared a light-hearted moment playing table tennis with First Lady Brigitte Macron during the second day of their state visit to France. Charles, aged 74, made a commitment to enhance the crucial alliance between the UK and France in a significant speech delivered in both French and English. He emphasized the strong bond and shared values between the two nations, touching upon issues like climate change and international security. He expressed, “During my reign as King, I am dedicated to strengthening the vital relationship between the United Kingdom and France, and today, I extend an invitation for all to join me in this endeavor. Together, we have limitless potential.”
Therefore, let us cherish and nurture our entente cordiale, aiming to renew it for future generations. I would like to suggest that we transform it into an entente pour la durabilite (an agreement for sustainability) to better address the global climate and biodiversity crisis.
This commitment to one another and to our shared values is not only inspired by our historical example but also strengthened as we confront the immense challenges of our world today.
As neighbors, friends, partners, and allies, there is no challenge that we cannot overcome, just as we have done in the past. Let us move forward with hope and courage, and let us do so hand in hand.
The King commenced his speech in French by expressing, “I must convey the deep sense of honor I feel to have received an invitation from the Presidents of both Houses to address this esteemed chamber, which has served as the upper house of French politics in various forms since 1799.”
Charles conveyed to the senators, “In simple terms, the United Kingdom will forever remain one of France's most steadfast allies and dearest friends.”
This event occurred the day following President Emmanuel Macron and First Lady Brigitte Macron's reception of Charles and Camilla in Paris. The reception included ceremonies at the Arc de Triomphe, an official meeting at the Elysee Palace, and an extravagant state banquet held at the Palace of Versailles.
Simultaneously, Queen Camilla and Brigitte Macron, the spouse of French President Emmanuel Macron, introduced a novel Franco-British literary award at the National Library of France.
Clad in a white coat and a monochrome dress, the 76-year-old Camilla delivered a speech in what she humorously referred to as “rusty French.” She remarked, “I sincerely hope that this Prize will serve as ample evidence that Victor Hugo was unjust in his assertion that ‘L’Angleterre a deux livres,' which translates to ‘England has two books'—as much as we hold the Bible and Shakespeare dear, I assure you that we possess far more than just two books, as the esteemed authors gathered here today clearly demonstrate… Just as in France, our writers annually produce new masterpieces, and this Prize is dedicated to celebrating that creativity.”
Camilla continued, “Brigitte Macron and I share a profound love for literature and a shared commitment to promoting literacy. Through our respective endeavors, we have witnessed firsthand the transformative influence of books, bringing us joy, solace, companionship, laughter, and tears, while opening our eyes to the experiences of others and reminding us that we are not alone.”
She concluded with another quote from Victor Hugo, stating, “‘Apprendre à lire, c'est allumer du feu ; toute syllabe épelée étincelle,' which translates to ‘To learn to read is to light a fire; every syllable that is spelled out is a spark.'”
The King and Queen, along with Mrs. Macron, visited the Rugby World Cup village in Saint-Denis, northern Paris, where Camilla had an opportunity to showcase her table tennis abilities.
Charles chuckled as his wife honed her ball-hitting skills, following which the Queen proposed a match against Mrs. Macron.
During their friendly game, it seemed that the spouse of Emmanuel Macron had the upper hand over Camilla, and they played with enthusiasm for a few minutes.
The Queen made several attempts that resulted in the ball hitting the net, which prompted light-hearted banter between her and Mrs. Macron about the game.
Charles had a conversation with Bamba and Welsh rugby athlete Dan Biggar. Biggar noted that the King's visit had boosted France's spirits.
Bamba further commented, “Currently, everyone in France is relishing the World Cup, so it's wonderful to have this visit happening at this time.”
Their Majesties were subsequently offered the chance to demonstrate their craftsmanship while exploring Le 19M Campus. This visit aimed to provide insight into the organization's efforts to foster education, creativity, and inclusivity by teaching young individuals traditional ‘haute couture' abilities like embroidery, pinning, and tweed production.
Following their tour of Le 19M Campus, the King and Queen proceeded to a Parisian flower market named in honor of the deceased Queen.
During their visit, they exchanged greetings with two stallholders, one of whom was Lionel Vivani, a vendor of 25 years. Mr. Vivani shared with the King his memory of showing his mother around the market.
Afterward, Mr. Vivani expressed, “Meeting the King was a privilege. I have cherished recollections of encountering the Queen nearly a decade ago, and I am pleased that I am still here to witness this visit.”