(Berlin) Charles III on Wednesday night called for upholding democratic values and praised solidarity with Ukraine in defending “freedom” against Russian “aggression”, beginning a state visit to Germany, his first as a than king abroad.
The UK and Germany stand “side by side to protect and advance (their) shared democratic values”, he said in a speech in Berlin, at Bellevue Palace where the head of state German, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, gave a dinner in his honor.
This fight “is embodied by the fact that we stand together with Ukraine in defense of freedom and sovereignty in the face of unprovoked aggression”, added the British monarch.
“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.
“Germany and the United Kingdom are today, also militarily, Ukraine’s two biggest supporters in Europe,” echoed the German head of state, referring to a Russian invasion that brought back “memories of the worst times” in European history.
The dinner ended the first day of the sovereign’s visit, after an unprecedented ceremony at the foot of the Brandenburg Gate, an emblematic monument which was also a symbol of the partition of Berlin for three decades.
Mr Steinmeier celebrated 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,” he said as he welcomed the King and his wife Camilla to Bellevue Castle. .
The couple will stay three days in Germany. Originally, he should have previously traveled to France, but this trip was canceled due to social unrest related to pension reform in this country.
At the German capital’s international airport, Charles III and the Queen Consort were greeted by 21 salutes, two Eurofighters flying over and a military guard of honor.
After hours of waiting in the morning, hundreds of Windsor fans or just the curious got to see the royal couple up close, who shook hands a lot.
“We loved” the ceremony, says Kathy Robertson, 63, an Englishwoman who has lived in Germany for 43 years. “The queen was very beautiful.”
For Janis Aritis, a 22-year-old student, the moment is touching: “It’s not the same as when it was the queen. He represents a new era, a new era.”
The famous Unter den Linden avenue was decked out in British colors for a visit which is intended as a solemn occasion to celebrate the friendly relations between the two countries.
The stay is marked by the theme of ecology, of which the ex-Prince Charles has made himself the cantor across the Channel.
Charles, 74, who has been committed to environmental protection for a long time, took part in a reception devoted to climate challenges at the Château de Bellevue.
On Friday, for the last day of his trip to Germany, he will learn about a renewable energy production project in the port city of Hamburg.
The program in Berlin will continue on Thursday, with the highlight being a speech by Charles III in the Bundestag.
The monarch must also meet with Chancellor Olaf Scholz, meet Ukrainian refugees and visit an organic farm.
It will not be the first time that Charles will find himself at the pulpit of the German lower house.
In November 2020, when he was still just the crown prince, he addressed German lawmakers on Remembrance Day, in a highly symbolic gesture marking the post-war reconciliation between the Kingdom United and Germany.
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.
Queen Elizabeth II’s last visit to Germany in 2015, during the time of Chancellor Angela Merkel, sparked great enthusiasm there.