On September 20, the first night of a three-day visit to France, King Charles and Queen Camilla attended a state banquet held in their honour at the historic Palais of Versailles in Paris.
Roughly 150 guests (including Hugh Grant and Mick Jagger) attended the banquet, which was hosted by French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte.
And ever the gracious guest, His Majesty made a heartfelt toast at the banquet, sharing a charming story about his late parents – Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip.
“My parents’ first official visit together was to France in 1948, shortly after their wedding,” Charles began.
“By all accounts, they made quite a splash, dancing till the early hours at the glamorous Chez Carrere in the Rue Pierre Charron, serenaded by Edith Piaf. I suspect it may have left an indelible impression on me, even six months before I was born. La Vie en Rose is one of my favourite songs to this day!
“And, of course, President Pompidou hosted my mother here at the Palace of Versailles on her second state visit in 1972. I was reminded recently that when she returned the courtesy with dinner for the President and Madame Pompidou at the Hotel de Charost, they ran into a little more difficulty,” he continued.
“Our embassy tried to bring several cases of English wine over from Hampshire for the banquet, only to be prevented by a customs official at Orly. In those days, there was no such thing as ‘English wine’ . . . As Roland Topor surmised, ‘Les Français ont du vin, les Anglais de l’humour’ [‘The French have wine, the English, humor’].”
The reason Charles and Camilla have travelled to France is to highlight the UK’s strong relationship with its neighbouring country.
Aside from the state banquet, other engagements on the King and Queen’s agenda while they’re in France include attending a sustainability reception, meeting with emergency workers and communities affected by the 2022 Bordeaux wildfires, and touring an organic vineyard which pioneered a sustainable approach to winemaking.