PARIS, Sept 19 (Reuters) – England’s King Charles’ state visit to France from Wednesday to Friday could be seen politically as an opportunity to strengthen ties between the two countries, but some Parisians said they were not impressed and lacking the glamour missed the late Queen Elizabeth.
The 74-year-old king and his wife, Queen Camilla, will be guests of honor at a state banquet at the Palace of Versailles, where blue lobsters, French Bresse poultry and a selection of French and English cheeses will be on the menu.
Charles, who like his mother is fluent in French, wants to follow in her footsteps and will likely highlight the late queen’s deep affection for France during the visit, according to authorities.
However, Parisians are skeptical.
“It’s just the son, they’re older, we don’t have a long history,” said pensioner Mireille Mauve.
His wife “is not that charming, she is a bit boring in her speech. “All that together doesn’t arouse much interest,” said the 88-year-old, who liked Queen Elizabeth and her horses.
As part of the visit, Carlos and Camilla will walk the Champs-Élysées and see the restoration work on Notre-Dame Cathedral after the major fire in 2019 that destroyed its roof.
The trip is also an opportunity to repair relations damaged by Britain’s chaotic exit from the European Union in 2020.
But Alexia Aubert, 15, said: “I think since Elizabeth died the royal family is no longer as important as it was before. “King Charles is no longer as important and symbolic as Elizabeth, so it doesn’t matter whether he comes or not.”
In the United Kingdom, polls suggest Charles is less popular than his mother, who received strong support from much of the public. Still, a YouGov poll released in September found that 60% had a positive opinion of him, compared to 32% who had a negative opinion.
In Paris, the carpenter Edouard Val de Lievre said of the British monarchy: “It is part of the folklore of England, for me it is just that.” “He (Carlos) represents the English population, but that’s it, nothing special for me.”