King and Queen arrive in Paris months after riots scuppered state visit

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

They are visiting Paris and Bordeaux six months after the trip had to be rescheduled because of widespread rioting.

The royal couple 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 members of the Republican Guard, which is part of the 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 Mr Macron, 45, and his wife Brigitte, 70, for a ceremony of remembrance and wreath laying at the Arc de Triomphe.

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

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Afterwards, the foursome were due to head 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.

In the evening, the royals will be guests of honour at a 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.

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 how the two nations are collaborating on defence.

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 – intended as the second leg on the tour – instead became the royal couple’s first state visit.