Dhe British King Charles III. and his wife Camilla started their three-day state visit to Germany on Wednesday. The couple – she in spring-like light blue, he with a blue tie – was greeted with a gun salute at the capital’s BER airport in the afternoon before their entourage set off for the Brandenburg Gate in the city center. Hundreds of onlookers were waiting there for the chance to see the royal couple up close.
Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and his wife Elke Büdenbender will accompany Charles and Camilla to their stations in Berlin, Brandenburg and Hamburg until Friday. The visit is also considered politically significant: it is the new king’s first trip abroad before his coronation on May 6th. Three years after Brexit, the visit is intended to show British ties with Germany and Europe.
The greeting with military honors – an ancient ritual with military formations of honor and the two national anthems – was to take place for the first time at the Brandenburg Gate and not, as was usual, at Bellevue Palace, the official residence of the Federal President. Royal fans endured for hours. According to their own statements, the first arrived at the barriers on Pariser Platz before 7 a.m. There is also the luxury hotel Adlon, where the royal couple is said to be staying.
After all, the sun was shining most of the time, dark cumulus clouds passed by. The police even spoke of “royal weather”. In the late morning, a few hundred people were admitted after going through strict controls.
Enormous security effort
The overall security effort during the state visit is enormous. The Berlin police deployed around 900 officers on Wednesday. Also in the government quarter there were bars for the appointments of the royals in Bellevue Palace, in the Federal Chancellery and in the Bundestag. The royal couple themselves are protected by special units from the German Federal Criminal Police Office and bodyguards from Great Britain. Explosive detection dogs are designed to sniff out places and vehicles.
After the military honors, Steinmeier awaited the state guest on Wednesday afternoon for a reception with experts on the energy transition and sustainability. Environmental and climate protection as well as organic farming have been topics of particular interest to Charles for decades.
State banquet with the Federal President and former Chancellor Merkel
In the evening there is a state banquet with around 130 guests on the program, the men in tails, the women in long. Not only the former Federal Presidents Horst Köhler and Joachim Gauck and former Chancellor Angela Merkel have agreed to attend, but also the current Presidents of the Bundestag, Bundesrat and Federal Constitutional Court. Celebrities like star architect David Chipperfield or Campino, frontman of the band Tote Hosen, are also on the guest list. Steinmeier’s chef Jan-Göran Barth has prepared a vegetarian and a non-vegetarian version of the four-course menu.
Charles became king after the death of his mother Queen Elizabeth II in September. He knows Germany well. He has been here about 40 times. Nevertheless, the state visit is a restart of relations between Great Britain and the EU, said the German ambassador in London, Miguel Berger, to the BBC. “We see it as a very important step that he makes his first state visit before the coronation.”
The British Ambassador to Germany, Jill Gallard, emphasized that Great Britain has left the EU, but not Europe. After the Russian war of aggression, the Germans, the British, the Europeans worked closely together to support Ukraine.
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