No red carpet? The French riots affect III. for the journey of King Charles

PARIS — Paris (AP) – Riots in France worsen III. Light on King Charles’ first overseas trip as UK monarch: Striking workers have literally refused to roll out the red carpet amid pension reform protests and are calling for the visit to be canceled altogether.

Charles is scheduled to travel on Sunday on behalf of British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s government, which had hoped a glamorous royal tour would underpin efforts to rebuild Anglo-French ties damaged by Brexit.

But anger over French President Emmanuel Macron’s decision to raise the retirement age from 62 to 64 is overshadowing what was meant to be a show of goodwill and friendship. Instead, Charles’s visit is seen as an unnecessary display of hereditary privilege.

“The timing is very bad. Normally, the French would welcome a British king. But at this moment, protesting people are extra ready for any sign of privilege and wealth,” said Stephen Clarke, a Paris-based writer, “World War II. Author of the book “Erzsébet, the Queen of Laughter”.

Piles of uncollected garbage line the once pristine avenues of the French capital, and according to observers, the optics could not be worse – for both Charles and Macron.

French labor union CGT announced this week that members of the Mobilier National, the institution responsible for providing red carpets, flags and furniture for public buildings, will hold a reception on Sunday after the king’s arrival in Paris.

“We ask our administration to inform the relevant services that we do not provide furniture, red carpets or flags,” read the CGT statement.

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The Elysee Palace, the official residence of the French president, said that the strike-free workers would instead set up the equipment for the trip.

Károly’s elegant itinerary with Queen Camilla, which has been in the works for months, includes a visit to the Musee d’Orsay, a wreath-laying ceremony at the Arc de Triomphe and a sumptuous dinner at the former royal residence for the March 26-29 trip. the Palace of Versailles.

“They plan to go to Versailles.” It does not look good. It feels very 1789,” Clarke said. Once the dazzling center of royal Europe and the focal point of the French Revolution, opulent Versailles is an enduring symbol of social inequality and excess.

Macron is facing a public backlash for pushing through a bill to raise the retirement age without a parliamentary vote. Some opponents accuse the president of being out of touch, and Charles was spared similar criticism as protests continued this week.

“Unbelievable! Emmanuel Macron, the republican monarch, will welcome King Charles III to Versailles…while people are protesting in the streets,” Sandrine Rousseau, a representative of France’s Green Party, told French channel BFM TV. “Of course” to the king you have to tell about your visit, he added.

In order to limit the possible disruption of the royal dinner, it is expected that very tight security measures will be required around Versailles. In 2020, protesters clashed with police on the Royal Cobbles amid an earlier pension reform bill.

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The unrest and Charles’s demands to stay away are sure to cause unrest in London. When he was walking in York, England, in November, someone in a crowd of angry protesters threw an egg at him.

The French have had a love-hate relationship with the kings since they were guillotined in 1793. King Louis. Queens have generally fared better since then. II. Queen Elizabeth, Charles’ mother, was an extremely popular figure in France, the European country she visited the most before her death last year.

Elizabeth, who spoke fluent French, made five state visits to France in 1957, 1972, 1992, 2004 and 2014, as well as unofficial and private visits. Now his son holds the crown, but some say he remains in his shadow.

“The problem with Charles is that he is not the Queen. They were very loved here,” said Geraldine Duberret, 62, from Paris. “Charles doesn’t have such good news here. It seems a bit spoiled.”

The French celebrity press has recently focused on unconfirmed rumors that the king will travel with too many servants, comparing him to his late mother, who famously insisted that her staff turn off the light bulbs at Buckingham Palace to save energy.

“This visit was an opportunity for Charles to regain his footing in the eyes of the French,” Clarke said. “It might have been like a blank canvas, but it probably wasn’t going to have the effect you wanted.”

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Charles commands some respect in France for his environmental activism. The king and queen consort plan to tour areas of France’s Bordeaux region that were devastated last year by wildfires widely blamed on global warming.

The couple’s stay in southwest France will give them the opportunity to tour vineyards and taste the region’s famous wines, including a planned stop at Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte vineyard and winery in Bordeaux.

Regional officials have been reluctant to welcome the UK royal family, a stark contrast to the reception Charles and Camilla can expect in Paris.

“It is very touching that Charles wants to come to Bordeaux. We have a very strong – and historic – relationship with the UK. The region remained English for three centuries. It’s in our DNA,” said Cecile Ha of the Bordeaux Wine Council.

Ha said Bordeaux winemakers are “on the same page” with Charles, as the region boasts the most organic vineyards in France. About 75% of vineyards in Bordeaux have an environmentally friendly certification, he added.

“They do politics in Paris. But here in Bordeaux, we love Charles because we share the same strong commitment to sustainability.”


Danica Kirka contributed to this report from London.


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