THE King and Queen Consort have postponed their state visit to France following violent protests in the country.
The couple were due to travel on Sunday but the trip will be rescheduled as soon as possible, the French president’s office said.
The decision was made after a phone call between Emmanuel Macron and King Charles.
A spokesperson for the Elysee Palace said: “Given the announcement yesterday of another day of national protest against the pension reform on Tuesday, King Charles’ visit, initially scheduled for March 26 to 29, will be postponed.”
Anti-Macron demonstrations had loomed over the upcoming visit, the first to France of his reign, amid tensions over pension reform.
Last week, the French leader raised the retirement age from 62 to 64 without a parliamentary vote, which sparked outrage across the country.
More than a million activists have taken to the streets from Paris to Marseille to campaign against the change.
While many demos were peaceful, violence erupted when officers clashed with masked groups, some of whom lit a fire at the historic City Hall in the South West city of Bordeaux.
There were at least 903 acts of arson in the capital alone, Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin said.
Looters have targeted shops, ransacked branches of McDonald’s, smashed up bus shelters, demolished public seating and torched mounds of rubbish.
Riot police used tear gas, batons, stun grenades and water canons to try to disperse the crowds chanting “revolution”.
Some 149 cops were seriously injured and 172 people were arrested across the country.
Protesters planned to target a lavish state banquet at Versailles and a trip to Bordeaux from Sunday to Wednesday.
Drivers of a tram the royals were set to use were going to strike.
Thousands of workers, including bin collectors, are already staging walkouts, leaving tonnes of waste piling up on pavements.
Trade Unions have warned that the social unrest will worsen unless Mr Macron reverses his “incomprehensible” pension reforms.
The caution pushed Ryanair and easyJet to warn holidaymakers travelling to France to expect disruption to flights.
A Buckingham Palace spokesperson said: “The King and The Queen Consort’s State Visit to France has been postponed.
“Their Majesties greatly look forward to the opportunity to visit France as soon as dates can be found.”
The couple’s state visit to Germany, scheduled for March 29 to April 2, will go ahead as planned, it is understood.
Emmanuel Macron’s pension reforms
EMMANUEL Macron pushed his controversial pension reform through parliament without a vote.
The French leader used an emergency presidential decree that enabled the government to pass legislation without a vote to hike the retirement age from 62 to 64.
Macron used the special constitutional power as he faced losing a ballot to get the reform through.
The pension reforms have sparked weeks of strikes and protests in the country.
As well as raising the retirement age by two years, it also requires an extra year of contributions to the national pension scheme.
Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne defended the move stating that the reforms are an essential method of sustaining pension system.
“We cannot gamble on the future our pensions, this reform is necessary.”