Britain's King Charles III said his country is keen to re-strengthen its friendship with France after years of turmoil caused by Brexit, during an official banquet hosted in his honor by French President Emmanuel Macron at the Palace of Versailles in Paris on Wednesday.
The king also welcomed the French-British summit held last March at the Elysee Palace between Macron and British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, saying that this summit, the first between the two countries in 5 years, contributed to the "renewal of friendly détente" between London and Paris after the tensions caused by Britain's exit from the European Union.
For his part, the French president thanked the British king for visiting Paris a few months after his accession to the throne, saying that this visit is a "sign of friendship and trust", "a tribute to our past", and "a guarantee for the future".
"Despite Brexit, and because what binds us is so old, I know that we will continue to write part of the future of our continent together, to face the challenges and serve the common causes between us," Macron said.
Official dinner at the French Palace of Versailles (French)
Charles and Macron also commemorated the late Queen Elizabeth II, who held a similar banquet in her honour at the same palace in 1957 and was "the greatest affection for France," in the words of her son.
The banquet will include inviting more than 150 guests, including British actor Hugh Grant, rock star Mick Jagger, former Arsenal football manager Arsene Wenger, French football star Didier Drogba, as well as French billionaire Bernard Arnault.
King Charles arrived in France on Wednesday on a three-day official visit, and French Prime Minister Elisabeth Bourne received the king and his wife Camilla in Paris, before heading to a ceremony at the Arc de Triomphe, to commemorate French and British soldiers killed in World War II.
Charles, Camilla, Macron and his wife Brigitte will visit Notre Dame Cathedral on Thursday to see the restoration work, following a massive fire that broke out in 2019 and destroyed its roof, and then King Charles and his wife Camilla will head to the city of Bordeaux in southwestern France on Friday.
The royal visit, originally scheduled for March, was postponed at the last minute due to violent demonstrations in France against pension reform. Charles was supposed to visit France as king on his first official visit to France at the time, and eventually visited Berlin.