The King and Queen will meet sporting stars during their rescheduled state visit to France which launches the men’s Rugby World Cup this weekend.
Charles and Camilla’s trip later this month will see the couple attend an event highlighting the benefits of sport for young people, and they will be joined by well-known faces from rugby, boxing, table tennis and football.
The Prince and Princess of Wales will be in the stands this weekend to cheer on England and Wales as the rugby tournament starts.
Kate, patron of the Rugby Football Union, will watch England take on Argentina in a group match on Saturday in Marseille and the following day William, patron of the Welsh Rugby Union, will watch Wales compete against Fiji in Bordeaux.
Charles and Camilla’s three-day overseas tour to Paris and Bordeaux originally planned for March, was to be the first state visit of Charles’ reign, but days of violent protests across France, against President Emmanuel Macron’s pension reforms, forced the trip to be postponed.
Germany, the second leg of the March trip, became the historic first destination for the royal couple.
The majority of the royal programme has been retained but a few new elements have been added for the state visit from September 20-22, including Camilla and the president’s wife Brigitte Macron launching a new Franco-British literary prize at the Bibliotheque Nationale de France.
Britain’s ties with France were described as an “absolutely massive relationship, both government to government and people to people” by a senior official from the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO).
Significant events from the visit include Charles and Camilla joining their French hosts Mr Macron and his wife for a ceremony of remembrance and wreath laying at the Arc de Triomphe.
Afterwards the foursome will be part of a procession down the Champs Elysees towards the Elysee Palace, the French president’s official residence, where Charles and Mr Macron will sit down to talks.
The King will be the first British monarch to give a speech from France’s senate chamber, to senators and national assembly members.
A senior official from the FCDO said about the UK and France: “… this really is an absolutely massive relationship, both government to government and people to people.
“It’s what we call a ‘full spectrum’ relationship, ranging through defence … trade, migration, and a key part of it is sustainability and our work together on the environment, both with each other and in the world.”
Chris Fitzgerald, the King’s deputy private secretary, set out the main themes of the trip: “The state visit will celebrate Britain’s relationship with France, marking our shared histories, culture and values.
“It will also provide an opportunity to look forwards and demonstrate the many ways the UK and France are working together, whether that be to promote and protect biodiversity, combat climate change, strengthen security and defence ties in response to the conflict in Ukraine or recognise outstanding cultural achievement.”
Charles and Camilla’s state visit to Germany was seen as a success by the host nation and the UK, with the royal trip categorised as a “rebooting” and “reprioritising” of the relationship by officials from both countries.
When the couple travel to Bordeaux they will meet emergency workers and communities affected by the 2022 Bordeaux wildfires, UK and French military personnel to hear more about how the two nations are collaborating on defence, and the royal couple will attend a GREAT campaign showcasing British and French businesses.