King Charles Arrives in Berlin for First State Visit as Monarch

BERLIN — Making his first official overseas trip as Britain’s new monarch, King Charles III began a three-day state visit to Germany on Wednesday, with Camilla, the queen consort, greeting a crowd of hundreds of spectators at the landmark Brandenburg Gate in Berlin.

The visit is meant to promote Britain’s ties with Germany and to celebrate the shared values between Britain and the rest of Europe, after a tumultuous few years over Brexit. This month, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak visited President Emmanuel Macron of France, announcing plans to deepen cooperation on topics including the development of a new generation of long-range missiles that could be used to deter aggressors like Russia.

The British ambassador to Germany, Jill Gallard, told Deutschlandfunk, a public broadcaster, that the timing of the king’s visit, which is just over a month before his coronation, was significant.

“Even though the king is above daily politics, this visit was a recommendation of the British government,” Ms. Gallard said, adding, “It’s no coincidence that this first visit is to Europe.”

Hundreds of people lined the famous Unter den Linden, a boulevard in central Berlin, to pass through metal detectors to welcome the royal couple at the Brandenburg Gate, the 18th-century monument that became a symbol of German reunification after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Charles was the first head of state to be welcomed with full military honors at the gate since at least the founding of the German republic in 1949, according to the office of Germany’s president.

The crowd included Britons living abroad who wanted a taste of home, German fans of the royal family and others who were there to see the spectacle of the British king in their city.

Hayley Gibson, 41, a Briton who has lived in Germany for four years, said she had felt alone in her grief after Queen Elizabeth II died last year. Holding a bouquet of flowers and miniature German and British flags, Ms. Gibson said this would be her first time seeing Charles up close. “Now I get to witness this new chapter,” she said.

A German woman in the crowd, Andrea Oliver, 53, said she had been a fan of Charles ever since she watched his wedding to Princess Diana on TV as a girl. “There’s something about the atmosphere that is magical,” she said of the feeling in Berlin ahead of the royal couple’s arrival.

On arrival, Charles and Camilla received a 21-gun salute at the airport, followed by a ceremonial welcome at the Brandenburg Gate, which is close to Hotel Adlon, where the royal couple will stay.

On Wednesday night, Charles and Camilla will be the guests of honor at a state banquet, hosted by President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and his wife, Elke Büdenbender, at Bellevue Palace, the official residence of the German president.

Charles had originally been scheduled to begin his overseas trip in France, making stops in Paris, Versailles and Bordeaux, but that leg was called off because of strikes and heated protests over Mr. Macron’s plan to raise the country’s pension age.

Buckingham Palace said the visit celebrated Britain’s relationship with both France and Germany, including their joint work on climate change and their response to Russia’s war in Ukraine.

Charles and Camilla last visited Germany in 2020, during the throes of the pandemic, when he addressed the German parliament, the Bundestag, when he was still prince, and began his speech in German. On Thursday, Charles will again address the Bundestag, before meeting with refugees from Ukraine. On Friday, the royal couple will travel to Hamburg, where they will visit a monument commemorating Kindertransport, the effort from 1938 to 1940 that brought about 10,000 Jewish children to safety in Britain from Nazi Germany.

Daniel Taylor-Fowles, 27, a Briton living in Berlin, who on Wednesday was part of the crowd waiting for the couple’s arrival, said he had become a monarchist since moving abroad.

“Charles is the biggest and best diplomat that the British have,” Mr. Taylor-Fowles said. “It’s important to strengthen the friendship with the E.U. and Germany.”

Christopher F. Schuetze reported from Berlin, and Jenny Gross from London.

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