French visit by Britain's King Charles postponed due to pension protests

By Michael Fitzpatrick - RFI
MAR 24, 2023 LISTEN

A visit to France by King Charles III, due to start on Sunday, has been postponed at the request of President Emmanuel Macron because of ongoing protests over pension reform. There has been widespread violence and unions have called a national day of protest on Tuesday.

The French presidency said the postponement was decided after a call between Macron and the king on Friday morning.

"Given the announcement yesterday of another national day of protests against pension reform on Tuesday March 28, the visit of Charles III, initially scheduled from 26-28 March, has been postponed," a presidency statement said.

The decision was "in order to be able to welcome His Majesty King III in conditions which reflect our friendly relations.

"This state visit will be reorganised as soon as possible," the presidency added.

First tour as sovereign

Charles had been due to arrive with Queen Consort Camilla on Sunday evening before spending a day in Paris on Monday and travelling to Bordeaux in the southwest on Tuesday.

The trip was due to be his first foreign tour as sovereign since ascending to the throne last September.

Royal officials said Charles and Queen Consort Camilla "greatly look forward to the opportunity to visit France as soon as dates can be found", according to a statement from London.

A total of 457 people were arrested and 441 security forces injured on Thursday during nationwide protests against the pensions reform in a major escalation of the unrest.