Sunday, October 2, 2022

United Kingdom: why is there no French ambassador in London at the moment?

William Molinié, edited by Ophélie Artaud

This Monday will take place the funeral of Elizabeth II, to which Emmanuel Macron is invited. The Head of State will be the only one to represent France: in question, the absence of an ambassador across the Channel since the appointment of Catherine Colonna at the head of the Quai d’Orsay. And the current circumstances are not likely to speed things up…

World leaders are expected in London for the funeral of Elizabeth II. Joe Biden arrived Saturday night. Emmanuel and Brigitte Macron will dine this Sunday evening at Buckingham Palace for a state dinner around King Charles III. The head of state will represent France alone: ​​there is still no French ambassador in London. Since the appointment of Catherine Colonna at the head of the Quai d’Orsay last spring, the chair has been vacant and the death of Elizabeth II has delayed the installation of the future ambassador.

Strict rules

Hélène Duchêne will still have to wait before taking up residence at 11 Kensington Palace Gardens, the address of the French residence in London. The former director general of the administration of the Quai d’Orsay was appointed on July 29 by the Council of Ministers as the future ambassador to Great Britain. But she has still not been officially installed, as the appointment process follows strict rules. France made a request for approval to the Court of Saint-James in early August, which, given the circumstances, has not yet responded formally.

There is a lot of movement of ambassadors in the summer, including in other European chancelleries. “We must surely not be the only ones in this case,” reassures an experienced diplomat. It is only after receiving approval from London that the decree of appointment will be published in the Official Journal and that Hélène Duchêne will then be able to present her credentials to King Charles III. This will not take place for several more weeks in view of the busy schedule awaiting the new sovereign.

Nation World News Desk
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