Luxuries prepared for King Charles that infuriated French anti-government protesters included his ‘favourite aged cheese’ and ‘hundreds’ worth’ bottles of wine before his state visit was cancelled, it emerged today.
Comté, 30 months old, and Claret, who accompanied him, were part of a Michelin-starred banquet that was prepared at the Palace of Versailles as part of the state visit.
It was drastically canceled on Friday after President Emmanuel Macron admitted he could not guarantee the safety of Charles and Camilla.
There has been more than a week of unrest across France after Macron raised the retirement age from 62 to 64 without a parliamentary vote.
It led to claims that the French president was more interested in living the high life with other heads of state than caring for his struggling constituents.
Details of the Michelin-starred banquet being prepared for King Charles and French President Emmanuel Macron leak
The banquet would take place in the spectacular Versailles Hall of Mirrors, once the home of the kings and queens of France.
Comté, 30 months old, and accompanying Claret, were part of the banquet that is being prepared as part of the state visit
The visit was abruptly called off on Friday after President Emmanuel Macron admitted he could not guarantee the safety of Charles and Camilla.
Now, details of the banquet that was to take place in Versailles’ spectacular Hall of Mirrors, once home to the kings and queens of France, have leaked.
“No expense was spared: Macron and Charles were going to dine like monarchs of the old world,” said a source who was involved in the preparations for the visit which was due to begin on Sunday.
Michelin chefs Anne-Sophie Pic and Yannick Alléno were going to start the feast with green asparagus.
The main course was Bresse chicken with truffles, followed by cheeses including “a thirty-month-old Comté, which we’re told is the king’s favourite,” the source said.
It was to be accompanied by “rhubarb water jelly” prepared by “master cheesemakers,” Anthony said, the source said.
The dessert, a tarte tatin with caramel and dried fruit, was to be prepared by pastry chef Pierre Hermé.
The wine, including Claret to accompany the cheese, would come from the Élysée Palace cellar, where “routine bottles cost hundreds,” the source added.
Charles and Camilla with President Emmanuel Macron in 2020. Leaked details of the lavish banquet have led to claims that Macron is more interested in living the high life with other heads of state than worrying about his struggling constituents.
French unions and anarchists have been protesting this week after Macron forced a higher retirement age on parliament without a vote.
Riot police scuffle with a protester during a demonstration in Paris yesterday. Hundreds of officers have been injured
Michelin chefs Anne-Sophie Pic (pictured) and Yannick Alléno were to kick off Charles and Macron’s fancy feast with green asparagus.
Comté is a classic French cheese made from raw cow’s milk in the Franche-Comté region of eastern France.
Comté is aged in cellars for at least 4 months and has an AOP, the French mark for protected status, since 1952.
The threats that persuaded Macron to cancel the British state visit included the words “Death to the King.”
READ MORE: King Charles likes to ‘blend in with crowds’ so would not be safe in Paris riots, France warns, as Emmanuel Macron puts it, ‘common sense and friendship’ led to ‘odious’ decision to postpone the trip
The macabre message was scrawled on the walls by protesters, prompting him to say: “I think it would not be responsible and lack common sense if we invited His Majesty the King and Queen Consort for a state visit in the midst of the demonstrations”. .’
Senior politicians, including Macron, had received threats evoking the guillotine used to execute Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, France’s last legitimate king and queen.
The words “Death to the King” even appeared in bright red graffiti on the Place de la Concorde, the central square in Paris where Louis and his wife were assassinated.
Another scrawled message read ‘Charles III, do you know the guillotine?’
The French feared King Charles’ safety could not be guaranteed “because of his interest in blending in with the crowd,” according to security sources.
An elite team of officers from the SDLP Protection Service unit rigorously studied the monarch’s profile.
“They picked up on the King’s habit of giving impromptu handshakes and talking to common people whenever he could,” said a source who was involved in planning four days of events.
“There are enormous social tensions in France, and there is no doubt that such good manners could have been very dangerous.”
The development was a great humiliation for Macron, especially since the royal couple’s visit to Germany next week will go ahead as planned.
Eric Ciotti, leader of France’s opposition Republican Party, called the chaotic security situation a national shame.
“Charles III’s visit is canceled by the government due to social unrest,” Mr. Ciotti said.
“What an image for our country, which is not even capable of guaranteeing the security of a head of state.”
Referring to Macron as a “republican monarch”, left-wing lawmaker and former presidential candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon said he was “delighted to see the meeting of kings in Versailles interrupted by popular censorship.”