State visits are nothing unusual in Berlin – but this one will be special. As of today, King Charles III. (74) and Queen Consort Camilla (75) for three days in Germany, Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier (67) and his wife Elke Büdenbender (61) attach great importance to the visit. From Steinmeier’s perspective, it’s about nothing less than “opening a new chapter in Anglo-German relations,” as they say.
Charles is considered a very good connoisseur of Germany, where he has been around 40 times. For the first time, however, he comes in his new role as king – and that before his coronation on May 6th. “This early visit underscores the close and cordial friendship between our countries,” said Steinmeier. The fact that France, which was originally planned as the first stop, was canceled at short notice due to the wave of protests there makes the visit “even more important” from the hosts’ point of view. The President will accompany Charles every three days – this, too, is anything but usual on state visits and a sign of the “sympathy and personal affection” between the two heads of state.
“Great honor for Germany”
Even the reception at the airport will be extraordinary: a guest rarely receives a 21-gun salute. A premiere will be the greeting with military honors immediately after the trip to the capital. This should not take place in front of Bellevue Palace or behind it in the park, as is usual, but at Berlin’s landmark, the Brandenburg Gate. No guest of state has ever been welcomed there. More than 1000 police officers are available every day for the safety of Charles and Camilla.
Things will get festive later in the evening when there will be a reception with 130 guests in honor of the royal couple at Bellevue Palace. A four-course meal is served, which is subject to secrecy in advance. Rumor has it that the monarch has his own chef with him. The reason: Charles eats vegetarian two days a week and vegan one day.
Traditionally, it is also kept silent about where the royal couple is staying. The Hotel Adlon is definitely getting ready – the red carpet has been rolled out. However, there is no comment on the luxury hotel in the immediate vicinity of the British Embassy, ”for reasons of discretion”.
Queen Elizabeth II has resided there twice. The 185 square meter suite with a view of the Brandenburg Gate was renamed the Royal Suite after its second stay in 2015. A signed photo of her and her husband, Prince Philip, hangs in the living room, which has a fireplace and a black grand piano. Butler Ricardo Dürner still raves about the monarch: “I got to know her as a very friendly, nice person.” Now the next royal mission is imminent.
The Royal Program
Wednesday: Charles and Camilla were greeted with a 21-gun salute at the airport in Berlin this afternoon. The monarch will then take part in an expert discussion on the subject of environmental protection and sustainability at Bellevue Palace. There will also be a festive reception in the evening.
Thursday the king will give a speech in the German Bundestag and later visit the eco-village Brodowin in Brandenburg.
Fridays it goes to Hamburg, where the royal couple wants to commemorate victims of the Nazi regime at the Nikolai Church. A harbor tour is planned before returning home.