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King Charles and Queen Camilla arrive in France for state visit months after it was rescheduled due to riots | UK News

The King and Queen have arrived in France to a guard of honour as they begin a three-day state visit to the country.

The royal couple are visiting Paris and Bordeaux six months after the trip had to be rescheduled because of widespread rioting across the country.

The King and Queen were greeted by the French prime minister, Elisabeth Borne, and other diplomats after they arrived at Paris’s Orly airport on Wednesday afternoon.

An officer and 20 guardsmen of the Republican Guard, which is part of the French National Gendarmerie, were lined up to greet them.

French President Emmanuel Macron issued a poignant welcome ahead of the King’s arrival, writing on social media: “You visited as a Prince, you return as a King. Your Majesty, welcome.”

The King and Queen met up with Mr Macron, 45, and his wife Brigitte, 70, for a ceremony of remembrance and wreath laying at the Arc de Triomphe, in the capital’s centre.

As part of the ceremony, King Charles was invited by the president to symbolically light the monument’s eternal flame which burns in memory of those who died in the First and Second World Wars.

Afterwards, the foursome were due to process down the Champs Elysees by car towards the Elysee Palace, the president’s official residence, where the King and Mr Macron are sitting down for talks.

French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne greets Britain's King Charles and Britain's Queen Camilla upon arrival at the Orly Airport on September 20, 2023, on the first day of a state visit to France. Britain's King Charles III and his wife Queen Camilla are on a three-day state visit to France. MIGUEL MEDINA/Pool via REUTERS

In the evening, the King and Queen will be guests of honour at a grand black-tie state banquet hosted by Mr and Mrs Macron in the Palace of Versailles’ Hall of Mirrors.

Both the King and Mr Macron will address the 160 guests, who will include high-profile figures chosen for their contribution to UK-France relations.

The majority of the original royal programme has been retained but a few new elements have been added, including the Queen and Mrs Macron launching a new Franco-British literary prize at the Bibliotheque Nationale de France.

Britain's King Charles and Britain's Queen Camilla disembark their aircraft upon arrival at the Orly Airport on September 20, 2023, on the first day of a state visit to France. Britain's King Charles III and his wife Queen Camilla are on a three-day state visit to France. MIGUEL MEDINA/Pool via REUTERS

The King will become the first British monarch to give a speech from France’s senate chamber to senators and national assembly members on Thursday.

Other highlights include the royal couple meeting sports stars as France hosts the Rugby World Cup.

When the couple travel to Bordeaux, home to 39,000 Britons, they will meet UK and French military personnel to hear about how the two nations are collaborating on defence.

Britain's King Charles and Britain's Queen Camilla travel in a royal vehicle upon their arrival at the Orly Airport on September 20, 2023, on the first day of a state visit to France. Britain's King Charles III and his wife Queen Camilla are on a three-day state visit to France. MIGUEL MEDINA/Pool via REUTERS

The King and Queen’s planned tour in March was to be their first state visit, but it was postponed at the last minute after violent nationwide demonstrations.

Bordeaux’s town hall was set on fire by protesters just a few days before the trip was due to begin.

Germany – the second leg of the overseas tour – became the historic first state visit destination for the royal couple instead.

Prince Harry and Prince Andrew arrive at King’s coronation | UK News

Prince Harry and Prince Andrew have arrived at the King’s coronation, entering Westminster Abbey just before 10.40am.

The Duke of Sussex was all smiles, chatting to his cousin Princess Beatrice and her husband Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi as he walked into the abbey.

The Duke of York was with the same group, which also included the Princess Royal, Princess Eugenie, and her husband Jack Brooksbank.

Neither Prince Harry or Prince Andrew have a formal role in the ceremony.

Prince Harry did not wear any form or military or ceremonial clothing, but instead wore a dark suit with medals pinned to his suit jacket.

Prince Andrew wore ceremonial robes of the Order of the Garter, despite not being a working member of the royal family. He had waved from the car to the crowds as he was driven to the abbey.

Joe Biden set to arrive in Northern Ireland to mark 25 years of the Good Friday Agreement | UK News

US President Joe Biden says his trip to the island of Ireland will underscore the United States’ commitment to peace and prosperity.  

He is due to arrive in Belfast later, where he’ll be met by the UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.

The pair will hold a bilateral meeting on Wednesday, after which President Biden will deliver remarks commemorating the Good Friday Agreement at Ulster University.

The US president is also expected to meet representatives from all five of Northern Ireland’s main political parties.

Ahead of his trip, he tweeted: “25 years ago, Northern Ireland’s leaders chose peace.

“The Belfast/Good Friday Agreement ended decades of violence and brought stability.

“I look forward to marking the anniversary in Belfast, underscoring the US commitment to preserving peace and encouraging prosperity.”

The president will arrive in Northern Ireland the day after petrol bombs were thrown at a police vehicle in Londonderry during an Easter parade.

Addressing the issue of violence, White House spokesman John Kirby told a press briefing: “As for security concerns, you know we don’t ever talk about security requirements of protecting the president but the president is more than comfortable making this trip and he’s very excited to do it.”

Following Wednesday’s scheduled events in Belfast, President Biden will travel south to Ireland, where he’ll hold meetings with the Irish President Michael Higgins and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar.

He’s due to address a joint session of the Irish parliament and will attend a banquet dinner in Dublin Castle.

The president’s attendance at events to mark the anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement reflects the US’ influence in helping to underpin peace in Northern Ireland.

In Washington DC, he is recognised as a politician who worked towards a breakthrough long before it came 25 years ago.

Read more:
Good Friday Agreement 25 years on – how it led to peace, hope and paralysis

Stella O’Leary, chair of the Irish-American lobby group, was appointed by President Biden in 2022 to be US observer to the International Fund for Ireland. It has been used over decades to help promote peace and co-existence in Northern Ireland.

Ms O’Leary told Sky News: “The United States has given half a billion dollars to that fund to maintain the peace. It was in existence from 1986 and it formed the foundation of the peace agreement. So it’s been a long time and Joe Biden was in there from the start.

“He facilitated the funding of the International Fund, with many others – it was a bipartisan effort.

“Ireland has a great debt to America for the role it’s played and he is a representative of that commitment.”

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Police vehicle attacked on Good Friday Agreement anniversary

Mr Biden’s four-day trip will be a combination of formal and family. A descendant of Irish immigrants to the United States, he will visit County Louth and County Mayo, from where his ancestors left for America in the 19th century.

He will deliver remarks at St. Muredach’s Cathedral in Ballina, County Mayo, to which his great-great-great-grandfather Edward Blewitt sold 27,000 bricks in 1827. The bricks were used to build the cathedral and their sale helped to fund Edward’s passage to the US with his family in 1851.

In Scranton, Pennsylvania, where his ancestors settled and where he spent the first 10 years of his life, the Irish-American community celebrates the achievements of one of their own.

Nearly a quarter of the city’s population have Irish blood. They include members of the Joyce School of Irish Dance, where we gauged the view on the local boy on the big stage.

Brigid King, 20, told Sky News: “It’s a very cool thing. I was raised very proud to be Irish, it was always a big thing in my family. So to have somebody in power who is Irish, very proud of where he came from, even though not being born in Ireland, is a very cool thing. He’s someone that shares the same passion as I do.”

Focus turns to Queen’s funeral as world leaders arrive, scaffolding is erected and rehearsals get under way | UK News

Preparations are well under way for the Queen’s state funeral with scaffolding being erected, world leaders arriving in London and rehearsals at Westminster Abbey and Windsor Castle.

As the lying in state continues in Westminster Hall, the queue of mourners waiting to see the monarch’s coffin is now expected to take around 22 hours from the back to the front.

Representatives from the Commonwealth nations have been invited to pay their respects, and heads of state from around the world are arriving throughout the weekend, both to attend the Queen’s funeral, and to sign a book of condolences.

A sign in Southwark Park in London, informing members of the public that the queue to view Queen Elizabeth II lying in state ahead of her funeral on Monday is 14 hours plus. Picture date: Friday September 16, 2022.

Meanwhile, King Charles will meet the chiefs of staff at Buckingham Palace before visiting police headquarters, where he will thank representatives from all the emergency services involved in the planning and delivery of the events during the mourning period.

He will also attend, with Camilla, the Queen Consort, a lunch for governors general – the people who represent the monarch in overseas realms – at the palace.

Man in custody after trying to rush Queen’s coffin, queues through a cold London night – all the latest, live

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The Queen’s children stand vigil for a final time ahead of her grandchildren’s tribute

Also on Saturday, the Queen’s grandchildren will take their turn standing in vigil around her coffin.

The Prince of Wales will stand at the head, the Duke of Sussex at the foot.

William will be flanked by his cousins Zara Tindall and Peter Philips – the children of the Princess Royal – while Harry will be with the Duke of York’s daughters Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie.

Peter Phillips, Zara Tindall and her husband Mike Tindall leave after attending the National Service of Thanksgiving at St Paul's Cathedral during the Queen's Platinum Jubilee celebrations in London, Britain, June 3, 2022. REUTERS/Dylan Martinez
Peter Phillips (L), Zara Tindall and her husband Mike Tindall (2nd L) during the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations

The Earl of Wessex‘s children Lady Louise and Viscount Severn will stand near the middle.

Read more:
David Beckham in tears as he views Queen’s coffin after queueing for 13 hours
Watch live stream of the Queen lying in state

Forecasters say the sun is expected to shine on those waiting in the queue and those already securing the best spots for the funeral procession. After a cold start, Saturday should see long, sunny spells with maximum temperatures of 17C (62F), they predict.

London to Windsor route revealed where thousands can see Queen’s coffin on day of funeral

Queen Elizabeth II portrait

A London Fashion Week diversity fashion show will also take place in honour of the late Queen on Saturday. Models will carry a white lily in tribute.

Codenamed Operation London Bridge, arrangements for the Queen’s death have been carefully pored over for years, with the monarch herself overseeing and approving every detail before her passing.

However, the exact details were kept under wraps until the sitting sovereign, King Charles III, gave it his final seal of approval.

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What is a state funeral?

Monday’s funeral is at Westminster Abbey, one of London’s most recognisable landmarks and near the Palace of Westminster.

It has been the setting for every coronation since 1066, and was where the then-Princess Elizabeth married Prince Philip in 1947.

Watch and follow the Queen's funeral on TV, web and apps on Monday from 9am
Watch and follow the Queen’s funeral on TV, web and apps on Monday from 9am