King Charles becomes first British monarch to address German parliament
King Charles III on Thursday became the first British monarch to address the Bundestag, the German Federal Parliament.
The British sovereign is in Germany on the inaugural state visit of his reign with the Queen Consort until Friday.
Switching between German and English, Charles said it was a “great honor” to be addressing the Bundestag, paying tribute to the deep historical bonds and longstanding ties between Germany and the United Kingdom.
He said the friendship between the two nations “meant so much to my beloved mother.”
Earlier on Thursday morning, King Charles met with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.
Following his address at the Reichstag, the King will visit a refugee center supporting Ukrainians displaced by the war.
It was a grand entrance for King Charles and Camilla when they arrived in Germany on Wednesday afternoon with a 21-gun salute and a flypast.
It was a day of many firsts. Even before landing, the royal couple’s plane was escorted by two Typhoon fighter jets as it entered German airspace in an unprecedented sign of respect.
After touching down, King Charles became the first head of state to be greeted with a full ceremonial welcome at Berlin’s famous Brandenburg Gate – a symbol of the country’s division during the Cold War and subsequent reunification.
Despite the overcast spring weather, hundreds of well-wishers turned out in the historic Pariser Platz, waving German and British flags. They were rewarded with a walkabout after King Charles and German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier inspected a guard of honor in the shadow of the monument.
In pictures: King Charles III’s first overseas visit as monarch
The three-day trip is Charles’s 29th official visit to Germany, though he has traveled to the country on more than 40 occasions. The British government will be hoping the trip helps reinforce relations with European allies following its departure from the European Union.
President Steinmeier referenced Brexit during a speech at a lavish state banquet hosted in King Charles and Camilla’s honor on Wednesday night.
“Back then many feared that Brexit could make the Germans and the British drift apart. However, this did not happen. Too strong are the ties between our countries, too close the friendships between our people, too precious the reconciliation efforts after two World Wars,” Steinmeier said.
He called Charles’ decision to visit Germany on his first foreign trip as King a “highly symbolic visit” and a “tremendous personal gesture.”
In his own toast, delivered in a mix of German and English, King Charles vowed to “do all I can to strengthen the connections between us.”
On Friday, the King and Queen Consort will travel to Hamburg, where they will visit St. Nikolai Memorial, a church that was heavily damaged by Allied bombing during World War II. While there, the King and German president will lay wreaths as part of a short remembrance ceremony.