King Charles III's state visit to France postponed on heels of violent protests, unrest
King Charles III's state visit to France has been postponed amid unrest in the country and widespread protests over President Emmanuel Macron’s pension reforms.
"The King and The Queen Consort’s State Visit to France has been postponed," Buckingham Palace confirmed in a statement Friday. "Their Majesties greatly look forward to the opportunity to visit France as soon as dates can be found."
The royals will still travel to Germany on Wednesday in what was scheduled to be the second leg of King Charles' first official overseas trip as U.K. monarch.
The original six-day visit to France and Germany, which hold the largest populations in the European Union, was designed to highlight efforts to rebuild relations between Britain and its neighbors after six years of squabbling over Brexit.
But anger over Macron’s resolve to increase the retirement age from 62 to 64 is putting a damper on the new monarch’s debut on the international stage.
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French labor unions have called for a day of nationwide protests and strikes on Tuesday. That is the day when the king had been set to travel to the western city of Bordeaux, with much security and ceremony, and the protests would have complicated his travel.
French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin gave reassurances Thursday night that the king would be safe during his French stay. He spoke after a day of nationwide protest marches, some marred by violence, notably in Paris.
Heaps of trash have been piling up on the streets of the capital and other French cities as garbage workers strike to protest Macron’s decision.
Photos: Heaps of trash pile up on Paris streets amid protests against France retirement law
In Germany, Charles will be welcomed by President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and his wife, Elke Büdenbender, address the national parliament, attend a state banquet and meet with representatives from a German and U.K. joint military unit in Brandenburg. He's also scheduled to visit the St. Nikolai Memorial, learn about green tech used at port of Hamburg, and wrap up the visit with a reception in Hamburg to be attended by local British community members.
The king also is set to meet with Ukrainian refugees who recently arrived in Germany. It isn't the first move by the royal family to show support for Ukrainian refugees: Prince William visited Poland on Wednesday to meet with refugees and Polish troops in Rzeszow.
The trip would have marked the king's 35th official visit to France and is set to mark his 29th official visit to Germany, according to Buckingham Palace. His last visit to France was in 2019, and his last visit to Germany was in 2020.
More royal news: Prince William speaks with troops, Ukrainian refugees in surprise Poland visit
Contributing: Wyatte Grantham-Philips, USA TODAY; The Associated Press
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: King Charles' France visit postponed as unrest continues