CHARLES and Camilla’s official state visit to France has been cancelled after chilling anti-monarchy graffiti appeared during riots sweeping the country.
President Emmanuel Macron decided it was not safe for the King and Queen Consort to travel to his country after guillotine and death threats were daubed in paint.
The graffiti — “Death to the King” and “Charles III do you know the guillotine?” — appeared at Place de la Concorde in Paris.
It is where King Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette were among 1,119 people guillotined after the French Revolution. The area has been hosting the country’s most violent protests against a rise to the age the French can claim state pensions.
But despite the graffiti, no direct threats are believed to have been made to the royal couple.
Charles and Camilla had been due to begin a three-day trip to Paris and Bordeaux tomorrow.
But following a night of violence in both cities, embarrassed Mr Macron called His Majesty yesterday morning to call it off.
Up to a million people took part in protests on Thursday night, with some setting fire to overflowing rubbish bins, fighting police and torching a city hall the royal couple had been expected to visit.
The first state visit by Charles, 74, and Camilla, 75, would have included a state banquet at the Palace of Versailles. But officials were unable to guarantee the couple’s safety.
Some also said that holding a banquet with riots going on in France could have been Mr Macron’s “Marie Antoinette moment”.
The President said it would have been abhorrent for the visit to have been disrupted by violence.
He said: “I don’t think it would have been sensible for us — it would have lacked common sense — if we’d suggested that His Majesty the King and the Queen Consort pay a state visit in the middle of the demonstrations.”
But Eric Ciotti, leader of The Republicans party, said: “The visit of Charles III is cancelled by the Government due to social unrest.
“What an image for our country, which is not even able to ensure the security of a head of state.”
The French have been protesting since January when President Macron passed laws increasing the pension age from 62 to 64 without a parliamentary vote.
Striking trade unionists had refused to go to work and lay out red carpets for the state visit and had refused to drive the royal couple on a tram in Bordeaux.
One thousand bins have been set alight in Paris alone, where refuse collectors have been on strike for more than a week.
On Thursday night, 500 protesters were arrested during violent clashes that saw hundreds of police forced to use tear gas, baton charges and water cannon following eight consecutive days of riots.
Thugs also set fire to the city hall in Bordeaux.
French security officials fear the situation is so bad the King could have been attacked while on walkabout meeting people.
A French source involved in the visit’s security planning last night admitted it would have been dangerous for Charles and Camilla to travel during the protests.
Officers from the French police’s Service de la Protection also raised concerns. A source said: “They became aware of the King’s habit of impromptu handshakes and talking to ordinary people whenever he could.
“There are huge social tensions in France and there is no doubt that such good manners could have been very dangerous indeed.”
A French governmental source said: “Highly politicised activists are out on the streets, and they would have certainly targeted the English King. King Charles made it clear that he did not just want to hide away in palaces — it was to be a proper visit, involving as many people as possible, or no tour.”
Buckingham Palace said: “The King and Queen Consort’s state visit to France has been postponed.
“Their Majesties greatly look forward to the opportunity to visit as soon as dates can be found.”
Mr Macron, who will attend Charles’s coronation in May, claims the trip could be rescheduled for the summer.
Charles and Camilla’s three-day trip to Berlin and Hamburg will still go ahead on Wednesday.
By Isaac Crowson
KING Charles’s trip may not be going ahead — but France does have, er, this crowning glory.
The wonky waxwork was unveiled at the Musee Grevin in Paris yesterday.
Charles, in a jacket and kilt, stands near an equally unconvincing model of the Queen.
Surely, only a dummy would think it looks much like him.