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Royal family announces state visit to France during Rugby World Cup | King Charles III

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King Charles will address members of both houses of the French parliament and will have a bilateral meeting with French president, Emmanuel Macron, during a state visit to France with the queen later this month.

The visit, originally due in March, was postponed when pension-reform protests in France spiralled into violent clashes.

The king and queen will be guests of honour at a state banquet hosted at the Palace of Versailles and will meet sports stars as France hosts the Rugby World Cup and prepares to host the 2024 Olympics.

King Charles will address senators and members of the National Assembly at the Senate during the visit between 20 and 22 September. Meanwhile, the queen, with the president’s wife, Brigitte, will launch a Franco-British literary prize at the Bibliothèque Nationale de France.

The king and Macron will attend a sustainability reception for British and French business leaders to hear more about their plans to invest in order to protect biodiversity and combat the climate crisis.

The royal couple will then travel to Bordeaux, which is home to a large number of British residents and is twinned with Bristol. The king will meet emergency workers and communities affected by the 2022 Bordeaux wildfires at the Forêt Experimentale, a site designed to monitor the responses of urban forests to global heating. He and the queen will also meet UK and French military personnel to hear more about how the two nations are collaborating on defence.

The Royal couple will end their tour with a visit to an organic vineyard that has pioneered a sustainable approach to winemaking. The vineyard generates its own solar energy and captures and converts the carbon dioxide it produces.

Chris Fitzgerald, deputy private secretary to the king, said: “The State visit will celebrate Britain’s relationship with France, marking our shared histories, culture and values. It will also provide an opportunity to look forwards and demonstrate the many ways the UK and France are working together, whether that be to promote and protect biodiversity, combat climate change, strengthen security and defence ties in response to the conflict in Ukraine or recognise outstanding cultural achievement.

“As well as speaking to the strength of the UK’s bilateral relationship with France, their majesties’ visit will include engagements highlighting sustainability and the power of community – key themes of importance to the citizens of both our nations.”

A senior Foreign Office official said it would be an “important” visit taking place in the context of a relationship that had been “steadily improving” since Rishi Sunak’s Paris summit with Macron in March.

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“This really is an absolutely massive relationship, both government to government and people to people,” he said. “It’s what we call a full-spectrum relationship, ranging through defence, trade, migration … and a key part of it is sustainability and our work together on the environment, both with each other and in the world.”

The fact it had been rearranged so swiftly, thanks to great flexibility on both sides, he added, “is testament to how important we both see this.”

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