King Charles and Camilla, the Queen Consort, have officially kicked off their new reign as Britain’s monarchs, touching down in Germany for their first foreign trip.
The king and his wife were greeted with a 21-gun salute and two flyover jets upon their arrival. They were also met by supporters as they descended from their plane, making their way to their vehicle.
The royal couple were previously scheduled to begin their tour in France, although plans were changed and canceled due to pension reform protests in that country.
The king is said to be using this trip as an opportunity to strengthen relations with Germany while also proving he will be as successful as his late mother, Queen Elizabeth II.
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The king and the queen consort shared a message regarding their travels to their Twitter page, writing, “Ahead of our first State Visit to Germany, we are very much looking forward to meeting all of those who make this country so special. It is a great joy to be able to continue the deepening of the longstanding friendship between our two nations.”
Just an hour later, the couple were met with military honors by German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and his wife, Elke Budenbender, at the Brandenburg Gate.
The dignitaries posed for photos before enjoying a reception inside.
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The trip was designed to underscore British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s efforts to rebuild relations with the German bloc after six years of arguments over Brexit and highlight the countries’ shared history as they work together to combat Russian aggression in Ukraine.
Now everything rests on Germany, where the king faces the first big test of whether he can be an effective conduit for the “soft power” the House of Windsor has traditionally wielded, helping Britain pursue its geopolitical goals through the glitz and glamour of a 1,000-year-old monarchy.
The German president was complimentary of Charles during the reception, saying, “You are, quite literally, the driving forces behind the energy transition. … You are helping to make the world a better place.”
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On Thursday, the king is slated to give a speech to Germany’s parliament.
On Friday, the couple will go to Hamburg, with plans to visit the Kindertransport memorial for Jewish children who escaped the terror of the Nazis.