A version of this story appeared in the March 31 edition of CNN’s Royal News, a weekly show that brings you the inside scoop on the British royal family. Login here.
Another week, another royal journey. This week we accompanied King Charles and Queen Consort Camilla on their historic first joint state visit abroad.
Chaotic scenes of civil unrest prompted the French government to pull the plug on the first leg of the trip, which was due to start in Paris on Sunday.
Instead, the royal couple flew into Berlin on Wednesday afternoon with two Luftwaffe Typhoon jets, which accompanied the flight as escorts it entered German airspace. Having traveled on a number of royal flights over the years, we cannot remember when the plane was received with such reverence. But it should have told us that Germany would pull out all the stops in the coming days.
The trip was clearly structured: on the first day, pomp and pomp was the focus, on the second day, politics, and on the last day, reconciliation and the future. The overarching theme illustrated the unwavering bond between the two nations. The royal couple certainly had busy schedules, but there were a few engagements centered on Ukraine and the surrounding area that suited their priorities.
“There are still many unwritten chapters in the long and remarkable history of our two countries. Let’s fill them with the restless pursuit of a better tomorrow. The legacy of our past and the great promise of our future demand nothing less,” Charles said on Thursday as he made history as the first British monarch to address a session of the German Bundestag.
The weather had changed on Friday, but that didn’t dampen the mood. Hundreds of well-wishers braved the wet conditions for hours before the couple arrived at Hamburg Dammtor station from Berlin at lunchtime. Their patience was rewarded when the King and Queen Consort greeted members of the crowd after they toured the nearby Kindertransport Memorial, a sculpture commemorating the rescue of about 10,000 Jewish children from the Nazis in 1938 by following Britain were evacuated.
The crowd grew as the day went on. Many people gathered in front of the city hall. In Germany’s northern port city, Charles and Camilla also visited St. Nikolai Memorial Church, which was destroyed in World War II. In July 1943, the Allies began an air raid on Hamburg, Operation Gomorra. In just eight days, 42,000 civilians were killed and 37,000 injured.
This was always going to be a historic journey for the new British sovereign, but he was under a lot of pressure to get it right. There couldn’t be any distractions or slip-ups, especially after the French portion of the trip was cancelled. In the end it was an impeccable visit.
Charles has not held back or shied away from traumatic experiences, historical or recent, for the two nations. There might have been some awkwardness given their history together, but he instead acknowledged the complex Anglo-German relationship.
The targeted diplomatic efforts are welcomed at home by British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, whose government sent Charles on his inaugural visit. He will have been curious to see if the King’s use of soft-power diplomacy could help restart relations with post-Brexit European partners.
The strategy seems to have worked. Charles was well received by politicians and the public alike. In the local media he was especially praised for his command of the German language.
Many had wondered how Charles would fare on the world stage when he became king after spending more than seven decades as prince and heir apparent. This week was the first opportunity we had to see him as head of state overseas. He showed how adept he is at using soft power and being a unifying diplomatic force and ambassador for Brand Britain.
With contributions from CNN’s Nadine Schmidt and Cristiana Moisescu.
Hear what the Germans said about King Charles III during his visit. think
While the trip was shortened, Charles and Camilla still managed to complete an impressive number of engagements in two cities in two and a half days. Here’s a recap of some of the best parts:
In pictures: King Charles III’s first visit abroad. as a monarch
With all eyes on the British monarch and Queen Consort in Europe, the Duke of Sussex made a surprise appearance at London’s High Court earlier this week. As this was believed to be his first trip home since attending the late Queen’s funeral in September, Prince Harry was in town when his court case against a British newspaper publisher began. The Duke, along with several high-profile individuals including Elton John and his husband David Furnish, is suing Associated Newspapers Limited for “gross invasion of privacy”.
Allegations include placing wiretapping devices in applicants’ homes and vehicles, tapping phone calls and paying police for information. The publisher has vehemently denied the allegations and tried to drop the case in a pre-trial hearing this week. The case closed on Thursday and it is now up to the judge to decide whether to proceed with the case. He gave no timeline for a decision and said future draft judgments will have very limited circulation given the publicity of the case.
In a toast during the lavish state banquet held in his honor on Wednesday night, Charles recognized “Germany’s exceptional hospitality in hosting over a million Ukrainian refugees.” The monarch said it “shows so impressively the generosity of the German people”.
Source : www.cnn.com