How many languages does King Charles speak? Monarch delivers speeches in German

British monarch is in Berlin as part of three-day state visit

King Charles III delivers a speech at the Bundestag in Berlin, some of which was in German. AFP
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King Charles has impressed after speaking German during his visit to the country, his first state trip since becoming king.

He spoke German during a speech at a state banquet as part of his three-day state visit to Germany.

He then became the first monarch to address the Bundestag in Berlin switching between English and German as he delivered his remarks.

His speech celebrated the deep historical bonds and long-standing links between Germany and the UK.

King Charles has previously displayed his ability to speak German and gave part of a speech in the language at an embassy event in Berlin in 2019.

The British royal family has strong links to Germany, including the king's father Prince Philip, who was of German ancestry and spoke the language fluently.

In the Bundestag, King Charles said: “Today, it gives me particular pride to be with you … and to renew the special bond between our two countries.

“This friendship meant so much to my beloved mother, the late queen, who often spoke of the 15 official visits she made to Germany, including her five state visits.

“My mother understood the immense achievement that reconciliation represented, and in returning to Germany time and again, she was determined to play her own part. It is, perhaps, for this reason that her late majesty won a particular place in the affection of the German people.”

Missed opportunity to speak French

The king is also known to speak conversational French, having learnt the language at school.

Earlier this week King Charles was scheduled to visit France on a state visit, which was ultimately postponed following widespread protests over President Emmanuel Macron's pension reforms.

When Mr Macron called him to cancel the trip he spoke in English out of politeness, but Prince Charles could have chatted to him in French.

King Charles' mother, Queen Elizabeth II, also knew some French and also spoke it occasionally.

Welsh learner

When he was the Prince of Wales he also learnt the Welsh language for his investiture ceremony in 1969.

He took classes in Welsh at Aberystwyth University for an academic term, which was recreated for the third series of the Netfilx TV series The Crown.

While his knowledge of the language may have dimmed over the years, he did speak Welsh as he addressed the Welsh Assembly's Sennedd, or senate, in September.

King Charles is a vocal supporter of the UK's regional languages and has also spoken some Scots Gaelic.

Speaking on the ITV documentary Charles: 50 years a Prince, he said: “I did my utmost to learn as much as I could.

“But in a term it's quite difficult, and I'm not as brilliant a linguist as I'd like to be.”

Prince William, who has taken his father's title as the Prince of Wales, will also be expected to learn some words of Welsh for his new role, although there are no plans for a formal investiture ceremony.

Updated: March 30, 2023, 12:43 PM