The King and Queen wrapped up their visit to Paris and flew to Bordeaux on Friday
The King, 74, and Queen, 76, arrived at Bordeaux-Merignac Airport around lunchtime on Friday where the French defense minister, Monsieur Sébastien Lecornu, greeted them.
"The cities of Bordeaux and Bristol have been twinned since 1947, the first UK-France city twinning of its kind," the royal family's team said on their Twitter page. "In celebration of the longstanding relationship of the UK with this city, The King and Queen were hosted by the Mayor of Bordeaux at Hotel de Ville."
One of the reasons for visiting the area is to highlight the strength of the defense ties between Britain and France, and the couple headed to see HMS Iron Duke frigate moored in the city for a reception where they met local community, sports and education leaders as well as representatives of British military charities.
The couple then took a tram ride across the city to the Place de la Bourse, which is at the heart of Bordeaux’s world heritage site. There, King Charles and Queen Camilla took part in a celebration showcasing the cultural and business ties between France and the U.K. On display was the best of British, French and Bordelais food and drink, technology and innovation, sports and sustainability.
— The Royal Family (@RoyalFamily) September 22, 2023
The three-day visit to France ended with a highlight: learning about sustainable vineyard practices at Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte.
The fully organic vineyard doesn’t just produce wine — it creates solar power and develops carbon capture. And in a unique twist, the vineyard uses llamas to weed the fields.
It would have felt very relevant to the couple. Charles has championed the environment and warned about the dangers of climate change for decades, while Camilla heads up efforts to support the British wine-making industry.
The royal couple was escorted by owners Florence and Daniel Cathiard to the wine cellars and then out to the vineyard. The Cathiards told King Charles and Queen Camilla about the sustainable practices they have introduced into the business, including their use of natural processes in the winemaking like creating their own mulch.
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The brief tour is celebrating "Britain’s relationship with France, marking our shared histories, culture and values," King Charles' deputy private secretary Chris Fitzgerald said in a palace briefing earlier this month. "It will also provide an opportunity to look forward and demonstrate the many ways the U.K. and France are working together, whether that be to promote and protect biodiversity, combat climate change, strengthen security and defense ties in response to the conflict in Ukraine or recognize outstanding cultural achievement.”
Earlier in the trip, King Charles used a speech at the state banquet at the Palace of Versailles to recall earlier visits by his parents, Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip.
"My parents’ first official visit together was to France in 1948, shortly after their wedding," the monarch said. "By all accounts, they made quite a splash, dancing 'til the early hours at the glamorous Chez Carrere in the Rue Pierre Charron serenaded by Edith Piaf. I suspect it may have left an indelible impression on me, even six months before I was born. 'La Vie en Rose' is one of my favorite songs to this day!"
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