(Berlin) Charles III began his first foreign visit as sovereign in Berlin on Wednesday, hailed by the German head of state as a “new chapter” in relations between the two countries after Brexit.

“Today, six years after the UK began to leave the European Union, we are opening a new chapter in our relationship,” German President Frank Walter Steinmeier said as he welcomed the King and his wife Camilla to the castle. of Bellevue.

The visit is an “important sign of the German-British relationship”, he added.

“We are thrilled to meet everyone who makes this country so unique. It is a great joy to continue to deepen a long-standing friendship between our two nations.

The couple will stay three days in Germany. Originally, he would have previously traveled to France, but that trip was canceled due to social unrest over pension reform in the country.

Earlier, the royal plane landed at Berlin International Airport, where the King and Queen consort were greeted by 21 salvoes of gunfire, two Eurofighters flying overhead and a military guard of honor.

Charles, in a black coat and blue tie striped with white lines, and Camilla, dressed in royal blue, also interpreted by some commentators as an allusion to the attachment to Europe, then went in a black Bentley to the Brandenburg Gate to unprecedented military honors with Frank-Walter Steinmeier and his wife.

This is the first time that such a ceremony for a State guest has been held at the foot of this emblematic monument which was also a symbol of the partition of the city for three decades.

After hours of waiting in the morning, hundreds of Windsor fans or simply curious people got to see the royal couple up close, who shook hands a lot, and some had the chance to exchange a few words with them.

Andreina Riera, 19, wore, like many others in the audience, a paper “royal crown” distributed by an American fast food chain. Queen Consort Camilla greeted her and said, “I love your hat.”

“I was shocked, I never imagined this could happen, that she would notice me. I’m really happy,” says the Venezuelan student who says she’s always been a “monarchy fan.”

“We loved” the ceremony, says Kathy Robertson, 63, an Englishwoman who has lived in Germany for 43 years. “The queen was very beautiful.”

The famous Unter den Linden avenue was adorned with the British flag for a visit which is intended as a solemn occasion to celebrate the relationship of friendship between the two countries.

Up to 1100 police officers are mobilized, reinforcements from other regions have been requisitioned as well as 20 explosive sniffing dogs.

Charles, 74, who has long been committed to environmental protection, then attended a reception at Bellevue Castle dedicated to climate challenges.

A banquet will follow with vegetarian options on the menu, in honor of the king. Guests will be able to choose for the main course between spinach tartlets accompanied by mushrooms and free-range chicken. German wines will accompany the dishes.

The program in Berlin will continue on Thursday, culminating in a speech by Charles in the Bundestag. The monarch must also meet with Chancellor Olaf Scholz, walk with the mayor of the city in a market, meet Ukrainian refugees and visit an organic farm in Brandenburg, the region surrounding Berlin.

The trip to Germany of the royal couple will end on Friday with a stopover in Hamburg (north), port metropolis and second city of the country.

Queen Elizabeth II’s last visit to Germany in 2015, during the time of Chancellor Angela Merkel, sparked great enthusiasm in the country.

His most significant visit dates back to 1965, in a Berlin divided by the wall. It is seen as the moment that sealed the reconciliation between the two countries after World War II.

His son should also expect a warm welcome: he knows the country well and has visited more than 40 times, according to the British Embassy in Berlin.

Moreover, the Germans remain big fans of the “Royals”, who come from a “very long tradition” of monarchs, and their “great interest” is not about to dissipate, assures AFP Michael Hartmann, sociologist at the Technical University of Darmstadt (west).