Queen Elizabeth Begins State Visit to France
Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh today began their fifth state visit to the French Republic.
The couple departed from St Pancras Station in London aboard the Eurostar – their typical option for travel between London and Paris – headed for Paris Gare du Nord. The Queen unveiled a plaque at the London station to commemorate the twentieth anniversary of the Channel Tunnel, which was opened in 1994 by Queen Elizabeth and then French President François Mitterrand.
Upon arrival in Paris, the royal party was met by the British Ambassador to France, Sir Peter Ricketts. At 5pm, the Queen and the Duke arrived at the Arc de Triomphe in a burgundy Bentley with President François Hollande. Queen Elizabeth and President Hollande then laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier which sits underneath the Arc, before the national anthems of Britain and France were played by the military band, and troops were inspected.
A state procession from the Arc de Triomphe down the Champs Élysée to Elysée Palace then took place. At the Palace, the official residence of the French President, Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip had an two-hour audience with President Hollande. During the audience, Queen Elizabeth was presented with a gift from the French President, a series of photo albums bound in leather by Hermes of photographs showing the Queen’s previous visits to France.
The first day of the state visit was concluded with a garden party at the British Embassy, just a short distance from Elysée Palace, hosted by the British Ambassador. Here, the Queen (in her fourth outfit of the day) and Duke mingled with guests, including cyclist Bradley Wiggins.
Tomorrow, the Queen and Prince Philip will travel to Normandy, to attend events to mark the seventieth anniversary of the D-Day landings. They will be joined by the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall, who are already in Normandy.Filed under The United Kingdom
Tagged Ambassador, Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom, France, Garden Party, President Hollande of France, State Visit, The Duke of Edinburgh.