The King and Queen have arrived in Germany for the first state visit of their reign.
Charles and Camilla landed on the British government’s Voyager aircraft at Berlin Brandenburg Airport shortly after 2pm local time after departing from RAF Brie’s Norton in Oxfordshire this morning.
In a unique gesture of honour, two German fighter jets escorted the RAF Voyager of the King and Queen Consort as it entered German airspace. Amidst bright blue skies, someone flitted either side of the Royal Airplane for about 20 minutes.
They were due to fly in from Paris, but the first part of their visit to France was canceled at 11 o’clock by President Macron amid scenes of massive civil unrest in his country. It will be rearranged at a later time.
Germany’s president, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, rolls out the red carpet for his royal visitors, including honoring them with the first full ceremonial and military welcome at the Brandenburg Gate since World War II.
King Charles and Queen Consort Camilla disembark from their plane after landing at Berlin Brandenburg Airport
Camilla and Charles smile as they walk the red carpet after landing in Berlin
Camilla and Charles are seen from the window of their official car as they leave the airport
In a unique gesture of honour, two German fighter jets escorted the RAF Voyager of the King and Queen Consort as it entered German airspace
Even Queen Elizabeth II, who visited Berlin for her last ever state visit in 2015, was not given the honor.
Charles will also become the first monarch to address the German parliament, in a speech tomorrow, before traveling to the port city of Hamburg on Friday.
The trip is seen as a sign of the importance both governments place on the visit after Brexit and in the face of the conflict in Ukraine.
The royal family’s unique brand of “soft diplomacy” is seen as an important weapon for the British government to build on the already strong historical ties between the two countries.
Today, the royal family released a statement sharing their excitement for the visit.
“Ahead of our first official visit to Germany, we are very much looking forward to meeting all those who make this country so special,” they wrote.
“It is with great pleasure that we can continue to deepen the longstanding friendship between our two countries.”
The royal couple moments before they left the plane to receive a guard of honour
At the airport today, the King and Queen greeted their consort with a twenty-one gun salute and air passage marking the start of their official visit.
Charles and Camilla exchange a few words as they descend the steps of the plane
The King gets into his car to drive to the center of Berlin
Amidst bright blue skies, someone flitted either side of the Royal Airplane for about 20 minutes
The British government’s lively Voyager plane – with Charles and Camilla inside – lands on the runway in Berlin
The Royal Air Force plane had the German national flag and the Royal Standard flying out of the pilot’s window
A guard of honor waits on the tarmac in Berlin for the king and queen consort to leave the plane
A large group of police motorcyclists are preparing to accompany the royal motorcade
‘The fact that the program contains so many unique ceremonial elements reflects the strength of the relationship and the fact that this is Their Majesties’ first state visit,’ said a royal source. The atmosphere in which this was planned is extraordinarily positive.
Their Majesties are very familiar with the context in Ukraine at the moment which is obviously one of the challenges that we face together in Europe.
At the airport today, the King and Queen greeted their consort with a twenty-one gun salute and flight pass marking the start of their official visit.
The couple stopped at the top of the stairs to salute as two military planes flew overhead.
As they disembark, the King and Queen Consort are greeted by Secretary of State Dorety Danger. German Chief of Protocol at the Foreign Office, Mr. Til Norn; and the British Ambassador to Germany, Jill Gallard.
Their Majesties walked along the red carpet lined by a Guard of Honor, presented by the German Federal Defense Forces before being introduced by the Chief of Protocol to Miguel Berger, German Ambassador to the United Kingdom, Major-General Wolfgang Gabelin, Director of the Bundeswehr and Ms. Andrea Kondross, Officer of Protocol for the State Visit, and Ms. Zofia Liptak Gekin, State Visiting Protocol Officer.
The visit was designed to celebrate Britain’s relationship with Germany, and to highlight its shared history, culture and values with the United Kingdom.
Members of the German honor guard walk through the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin as they rehearse the couple’s arrival
39-year-old Ewa from Berlin holds a Union Jack flag with a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II
Members of the German Armed Forces practice raising the Union Jack before Charles’s arrival
A man rolls the red carpet in front of the Brandenburg Gate as the city prepares to welcome Charles and Camilla
It will also provide an opportunity to show the many ways the UK is working in partnership with Germany on issues including climate change and conflict in Ukraine, as well as developing opportunities in trade, investment, arts and culture.
There will be a plethora of engagements emphasizing the bilateral relationship between the UK and Germany and, no doubt to the King’s pleasure, highlighting the importance of sustainability and community.
Buckingham Palace said the King and Queen “will also reflect on the sacrifices and challenges of our shared past, which have resulted in a lasting legacy of cooperation and reconciliation”.
This is the King’s twenty-ninth official visit to Germany. Her Majesty the Queen has made three state visits, the most recent of which was in 2020.
At a banquet at Bellevue Palace—the official residence of the president—Charles is expected to give a speech in both English and German.
Charles will also meet Chancellor Olaf Schultz, talk to Ukrainian refugees and meet British and German military personnel working together on joint projects.
It is the first joint battalion between the two countries in more than two centuries and was reconstituted 18 months ago.
A scene at the Brandenburg Gate this morning as Berlin prepared for the royal visit
Today, Union Jack flags are flown along Berlin’s central Unter den Linden boulevard, which leads to the Brandenburg Gate, in anticipation of the king’s arrival.
Charles’s German cousins include Prince Rainer of Hesse (left) and Prince Ludwig of Baden (right)