King Charles III makes world debut as tour starts in Germany
BERLIN (AP) — King Charles III arrived in Berlin on Wednesday for his first foreign trip as Britain's monarch, hoping to improve the United Kingdom's relations with the European Union and show he can win hearts and minds abroad, just as his mother did for seven decades.
Charles and Camilla, the queen consort, landed at Berlin's government airport in the early afternoon.
The king, dressed in a black coat, and his wife, in a light blue coat and a feather-trimmed teal hat worn at a jaunty angle, paused at the top of their plane's stairs to receive a 21-gun salute as two military jets performed a flyover.
The royal couple said in a joint statement, released on their official Twitter account, that it was a “great joy” to be able to develop the “longstanding friendship between our two nations.”
An hour later, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and his wife Elke Buedenbender welcomed them with military honours at the German capital's historic Brandenburg Gate.
Soldiers hoisted the British and German flags as the national anthems were played. The officials then strolled past the crowds who cheered and waved flags, shaking hands and chatting briefly with different people.
Some took close-up pictures on their phones as Charles and Camilla approached, while others gave them flower bouquets. One woman handed Charles a gift bag saying “I have a little gift for you.”
Police helicopters hovered about and the royal couple and their German hosts were followed by a huge media crowd and security personnel as they made their way across the square in front of the Brandenburg Gate and back to their motorcade.
Charles, 74, who ascended the throne after the death of Queen Elizabeth II in September, is set to be crowned on May 6. As Britain's head of state, the king meets weekly with the prime minister and retains his mother's role as leader of the Commonwealth.
He had initially planned to first visit France, but the first leg of his trip was cancelled due to massive protests over planned pension changes there.
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