King Charles 'utterly convinced' UK-German bond 'will grow even stronger'

King vowed to 'strengthen the connections' between the two countries during first state banquet speech

King Charles III during the State Banquet at Bellevue Palace, Berlin, the official residence of the President of Germany, during their State Visit to Germany. Picture date: Wednesday March 29, 2023. PA
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King Charles has paid tribute to the “enduring value” of the relationship between the UK and Germany as he pledged to “strengthen the connections” between the two countries.

During his first state banquet speech, the king said he was “utterly convinced” that the bond between Britain and one of the EU’s leading nations “will grow ever stronger".

The historic day saw the king and Queen Consort Camilla receive an official welcome in front of Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate, a symbol of peace and unity and the first time it has been used to greet a foreign head of state.

The royal couple greeted crowds at the Gate after inspecting a military guard of honour.

The king and queen consort received a 21-gun salute after they landed in Berlin.

Germany’s president Frank-Walter Steinmeier and his wife Elke Budenbender warmly welcomed King Charles and Camilla as their first state visit began, heralding a deepening of the post-Brexit relationship between the two countries.

At an event promoting UK and German climate and sustainability efforts, Mr Steinmeier praised the king’s green “convictions” and thanked him for making the “personal gesture” of choosing his country as the destination for his first state visit.

Among the guests were a few celebrities, including German resident and former Strictly Come Dancing judge Motsi Mabuse, and distant German relations of the king.

“The relationship between Germany and the United Kingdom matters greatly to me, too, Mr President, and I am more convinced than ever of its enduring value to us all," King Charles said..

“It means so much to us that my wife and I could come to Germany for this very first overseas tour of my reign.

“I can only assure you that, throughout the time that is granted to me as king, I will do all I can to strengthen the connections between us.”

The visit is meant to symbolise a turning of the page in UK-German relations after Brexit.

A royal stop in France was postponed because of mass protests against President Emmanuel Macron's pension reforms.

The king’s environmental activism is also at the heart of the trip.

Britain’s royals have deep ancestral ties to Germany, where they remain a subject of popular interest.

King Charles made 28 official trips to Germany as Prince of Wales, most recently in 2020 when he addressed Parliament in Berlin.

He is expected to do so again on Thursday, when he will meet Chancellor Olaf Scholz, speak to refugees recently arrived from Ukraine and visit an organic farm.

He will travel to Hamburg on the last day of his trip, where he will tour a renewable energy project and commemorate victims of allied air raids in 1943.

The late Queen Elizabeth made five state visits, including a trip to West Germany in 1965 that was seen as a milestone in post-war reconciliation.

Her trip to Berlin in 2015, with her husband Prince Philip, was the last state visit of her reign.

Updated: March 30, 2023, 8:17 AM