"My parents’ first official visit together was to France in 1948, shortly after their wedding," Charles said in a personal toast. "By all accounts, they made quite a splash"
The King, 74, and Queen, 76, were the guests of French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife, Brigitte, at the historic Palais of Versailles on the outskirts of Paris on the first night of their three-day visit to the country. Versailles was a French Royal Palace for much of its history but is now a public museum.
Around 150 guests, including prominent figures from both Britain and France, attended the glittering occasion. In a warm and personal toast, King Charles recalled past visits to France made by his mother, Queen Elizabeth, and father, Prince Philip.
"My parents’ first official visit together was to France in 1948, shortly after their wedding," Charles said. "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 favorite songs to this day!"
He continued, "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. 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."]
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Queen Elizabeth, visited the palace on three occasions: as Princess Elizabeth alongside Prince Philip in 1948, in 1957 on her first state visit to France as monarch and when Britain joined the European Union in 1972.
Noting the "long and complex history" shared by France and the U.K., Charles said, "our relations have of course not always been entirely straightforward. I think it was a French King who once said that he would rather be a wood cutter than the King of England, dealing with our national complexities. As an avid forester, I am pleased to report that it is entirely possible to combine the two!"
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