King’s state visit to France postponed amid widespread retirement age protests

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The King’s state visit to France has been postponed amid widespread protests over President Emmanuel Macron’s retirement age reforms.

The French Presidency confirmed the postponement of what would have been the first state visit of the King’s reign and Downing Street later said Mr Macron had asked the British Government to postpone the trip.

It is understood new dates for the visit will be confirmed shortly and Buckingham Palace said the King and Queen Consort “greatly look forward to the opportunity to visit France as soon as dates can be found”.

Royal visit to EBRD headquarters
The King’s first state visit of his reign to France has been postponed, the French Presidency said (Kirsty Wigglesworth/PA)

It is understood the trip to Berlin, which will now be the first state visit of the King’s reign, will proceed as planned between March 29 and 31.

A UK Government spokesperson said: “The King and Queen Consort’s state visit to France has been postponed.

“This decision was taken with the consent of all parties, after the President of France asked the British Government to postpone the visit.”

In a statement, the Elysee Palace said: “In light of yesterday’s announcement of a new national day of action against pension reforms on Tuesday, March 28 in France, the visit of King Charles III, originally scheduled for March 26 to 29 in our country, will be postponed.

“This decision was taken by the French and British governments, after a telephone exchange between the President of the Republic and the King this morning, in order to be able to welcome His Majesty King Charles III in conditions that correspond to our friendly relationship. This state visit will be rescheduled as soon as possible.”

France Pension Protests Photo Gallery
Protesters march during a rally in Paris on Thursday (AP Photo/Aurelien Morissard)

It is understood the trip’s logistics had been under review for some days and measures were being considered to reduce interactions with the public.

President Macron is facing renewed public anger for pushing through a bill raising the retirement age to 64 without a vote in the National Assembly, the lower house of the French Parliament.

French labour union CGT union announced this week that its members at Mobilier National, the institution in charge of providing flags, red carpets and furniture for public buildings, would not help prepare a Sunday reception for the king upon his arrival in Paris.

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