Why was France forced to postpone the State Visit from King Charles and Queen Camilla? – Royal Central

The French Presidential Palace has just announced that the State Visit from King Charles III and Queen Camilla has been postponed indefinitely, following the call for yet another day of strikes and demonstrations for March 28th 2023, which would have been the second day of the State Visit. 

For the past two weeks, France has been experiencing increasingly violent protests from people opposing a pension reform that would raise the minimum retirement age from 62 to 64. Following last week’s decision by President Macron and Prime Minister Borne to push the reform through directly to the vote, without holding a final parliamentary debate, the movement seems to gave regained steam. 

As a result of the ongoing protests and strikes, the streets of Paris have been filling with uncollected rubbish, and roads in and out of the city, including those connecting Charles De Gaulle Airport, have been blockaded. On March 23rd 2023, 457 people were arrested with a reported 441 police officers having been injured. 

Just these latest numbers should be enough to explain why the postponement happened: it seems that the French law enforcement apparatus will need all the manpower they can gather, and would not be able to guarantee adequate security for another Head of State. 

There is also the added complication of the UK’s Head of State being a Monarch, something that was already the object of some protests when the State Visit was first announced, with the subsequent threat levels of any public appearance being heightened slightly. 

And finally, the health risk tied to mountains of uncollected rubbish is not to be underestimated, especially now that protesters have been burning the piles on paths during riots, releasing clouds of toxic fumes in the air. 

The Elysée Palace said that the decision to postpone the visit has been taken jointly by the French and British Governments, as well as during a phone call between President Macron and King Charles III, and that new dates will be announced as soon as possible. 

This sentiment was echoed in the press release issued by Buckingham Palace, saying in part that “Their Majesties greatly look forward to the opportunity to visit France as soon as dates can be found”. 

However, with protesters giving no indication of any intention to back down any time soon, and with no end in sight to the strikes of public transport and other essential services, it seems like the State Visit will not happen for quite a long time. 

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