June 18: Macron in London, Prince Charles at the forefront

Emmanuel Macron is to travel to London this Thursday to celebrate the 80e anniversary of the call of June 18. During the ceremony at Carlton Gardens, where the headquarters of Free France was located, the French President will present to Prince Charles, representing the Queen, the insignia of the Order of the Legion of Honor awarded to the British capital, where General de Gaulle had taken refuge between 1940 and 1944 to lead the fight for freedom.

Confined to Windsor because of his great age, Elizabeth II met Emmanuel Macron twice: in June 2019, in Portsmouth, to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Landing and in December 2019 during the 70e anniversary of NATO in London. These were public meetings which did not give rise to any private interview.

Read also De Gaulle: an example in the crisis?

A French-speaking couple

De facto regent of the kingdom, Prince Charles is like his mother, a Francophile and a Francophone. I had met him at the banquet offered on March 26, 2008 by Elizabeth II to the president and Mme Sarkozy at Windsor Castle.

– “Pleased to meet you, Your Royal Highness

– What do you do for a living ?

– I am the correspondent of a French newspaper in London.

– (in French) I am told that a good number of young French people have come to live in London.

– That’s right. There are so many opportunities.

– (in French) It’s a good thing, but it’s a loss for France. “

During the gala dinner, Carla Bruni was seated next to the heir to the throne who had spoken to her, “in impeccable French,” she recalls, of her action in favor of ecology.

The Prince of Wales went on August 31, 1997 to recover the body of his ex-wife Diana killed in a traffic accident in the Alma Bridge tunnel. He never forgot the help given on this occasion by Jacques Chirac, who had personally settled the transfer of the body. The Entente Cordiale came out strengthened.

The prince’s Francophilia is shared by his wife, the Duchess of Cornwall. In 1963 Camilla completed her education for six months at the British Institute in Paris, where she learned the basics of French and cooking recipes. Since then, the wife of prince Charles holds the French capital for the “queen of the world”. The daughter of a wine retailer and an aristocrat has also been president of the British section of Emmaus since 2006. It is for this reason that the duchess chose to perform in Paris, on May 27 and 28 2013, his first official solo overseas visit. The wife of the heir to the throne of England attended a reception at the British Embassy in honor of the deserving subjects of His Majesty installed in France and a demonstration of the Republican Guard. She had visited a market, the Louvre museum and a fashion house.

A remarkable visit

If Prince Charles is fluent in French, this great admirer of the Arab world confided to the royal biographer, Sir Kenneth Rose: “Individually, the French are charming, collectively they are unscrupulous. »Small clashes that maintain bilateral friendship … He transmitted this affection for France to his eldest son William, who does not speak French. The second in order of succession was one of the architects of the Franco-British operation “Les Voisins”, aimed at strengthening the Entente Cordiale de la Jeunesse culturally as well as twinning.

Returning to power in 1958 after the interlude of the presidency of the provisional government between 1944 and 1946, General de Gaulle occupied a special place among the seven presidents of the French Republic whom the queen rubbed shoulders with. This proximity was of course united by the fraternity of the battles fought together during the Second World War. England was the cradle of free France, and the memory of that time wove between the founder of the Ve Republic and the royal family strong ties. This is the reason why President de Gaulle’s brilliant official visit on April 4 and 5, 1960 was remembered. In tribute, Queen Mother Elizabeth inaugurated on June 23, 1993 the statue of the head of free France erected in Carlton Gardens.

A future outside Europe

One thing is clear, despite his Francophilia and his efforts in favor of the Entente Cordiale, Prince Charles has made up his mind. The future of the crown is now outside Europe after Brexit. A new relationship between France and Great Britain remains to be written today. But the future Charles III is convinced that after the decoupling of the EU, the United Kingdom will not turn in on itself by fleeing its responsibilities in the face of the challenges that the outside world poses for the security of the European continent. The task of setting the new benchmarks falls to Emmanuel Macron and Boris Johnson.

When he ascended the throne, the new King Charles would take over the role of his mother as the tireless motor of the Franco-British axis.

Read also “Lightened monarchy”: mission accomplished for Elizabeth II

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