‘Sorry Charles, see you later!’: French union workers mock the King for having to abandon his state visit to France with banners opposite English shores
French unions on Thursday unfurled a giant banner opposite English shores to goad Britain’s King Charles III after his first foreign state visit to France was cancelled.
‘Sorry Charles, see you later,’ said the banner unfurled by union activists a week after President Emmanuel Macron postponed at the last minute the planned visit by Charles.
Macron said that nationwide union-led protests and strikes against contentious pension reforms prevented France from hosting Charles in the manner it had hoped.
With the trip postponed, it fell to Germany to host Charles for his first foreign trip as monarch, where he was received with pomp on Wednesday and Thursday.
Around 100 French union members unfurled the banner on Cap Blanc Nez, a point outside the northern city of Calais that is one of the closest places in France to England.
French union members unfurl banners including one reading ‘Sorry Charles, see you later’ after a trip by Britain’s King Charles III to France was postponed
It took place at the summit of the Cap Blanc-Nez, near Escalles, northern France, in the wake of violent protests over a pensions reform
They battled clifftop winds but succeeded in unfurling the banner so it could be easily seen from the coast.
The postponement of the visit meant that Charles had to forgo plans for a state banquet at the Palace of Versailles outside Paris and a trip to the southwestern city of Bordeaux.
Macron has said the visit could go ahead in the early summer, but it remains unclear if Charles will find space in his schedule.
Macron said that nationwide union-led protests and strikes against contentious pension reforms prevented France from hosting Charles in the manner it had hoped
Riot police surround a man lying on the pavement during clashes at a rally against the government’s pension reform in Paris
It comes after the French government pushed a pensions reform through parliament without a vote, using the article 49.3 of the constitution
Over seven million French people had tuned in to watch live broadcasts of Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral in September, showing a surprising fascination with monarchy for a country who is seen as responsible for the birth of revolution.
A 2016 poll showed that 17 percent of French people would support a king or queen taking over the role of head of state like the British monarchy.
British studies professor Catherine Marshall told RFI that there was ‘great love of the Queen herself’ in France.
However, following her death, Marshall questioned whether France would share the same love for the new King.
King Charles III visits Tegel Refugee Centre on March 30, 2023 in Berlin, Germany
German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Britain’s King Charles talk as they visit the 130th German/British Pioneer Bridge Battalion in Finowfurt
She said: ‘Will King Charles III be able to have as huge an amount of love and compassion as Queen Elizabeth II, I am not certain. But at the same time, I think identical questions are being asked in Britain.’
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