UK's King Charles chooses France, Germany for first overseas State Visit
In Berlin, King Charles will address the Bundestag, making him the first British monarch to make a speech in the German parliament
Britain's King Charles III will undertake his first overseas State Visit as monarch to the neighbouring European countries of France and Germany towards the end of this month, Buckingham Palace announced on Friday.
The King, 74, and Queen Consort Camilla, 75, will travel to Paris, where they will be hosted by French President Emmanuel Macron, and then head to Berlin and Hamburg to be hosted by German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier.
In Berlin, King Charles will address the Bundestag, making him the first British monarch to make a speech in the German parliament.
"The visit will celebrate Britain's relationship with France and Germany, marking our shared histories, culture and values," the palace statement said.
"It will also provide an opportunity to look forwards and demonstrate the many ways the UK is working in partnership with France and Germany, whether that be to tackle climate change; respond to the conflict in Ukraine; seize trade and investment opportunities or share the best of our arts and culture," it said.
The choice of the countries is being seen as significant in the wake of Brexit to reiterate the UK's bilateral relations with the European Union (EU) member-states.
"As well as speaking to the strength of the U.K.'s bilateral relationships with France and Germany, their Majesties' visits will include engagements highlighting the importance of sustainability and community key themes which have been embraced by citizens of all our countries.
"There will also be opportunities to reflect on the sacrifices and challenges of our shared past, out of which has come an enduring legacy of cooperation and reconciliation," Buckingham Palace added.
The visit, between March 26 and 31, will include state banquets and several ceremonial events in both countries, including the opening of the British Consulate in Bordeaux and meeting Ukrainian refugees displaced by the conflict with Russia.
The King's late mother, Queen Elizabeth II, accompanied by his father Prince Philip the Duke of Edinburgh, last undertook State Visits to France and Germany in 2014 and 2015 respectively, before the EU referendum in favour of Brexit in June 2016.