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King Charles III is gearing up for his first overseas trip and honestly, the timing couldn’t be worse. He is supposed to head to France on Sunday for a goodwill tour to rebuild the U.K.’s relationship with the country after the Brexit decision. However, France’s workers are striking in protest of President Emmanuel Macron’s move to change the retirement age from 62 to 64.
It’s not exactly ideal for a rich royal to come waltzing through when it’s clear that this is a battle of the classes. Stephen Clarke, author of Elizabeth II, Queen of Laughs told the Associated Press, “It’s very bad timing. Normally the French would welcome a British king. But in this moment, people protesting are on high alert for any sign of privilege and wealth.” Charles is already facing protests in his own country, so it’s a bit awkward for him to step into the ongoing fray in France.
Striking unions have already boycotted his visit by refusing to set up the pomp-and-circumstance items needed to welcome King Charles, including flags, red carpets, and any furniture needed. Clarke even questioned the itinerary, which includes an afternoon at the Musée d’Orsay and a fancy meal at Versailles. “They’re planning on going to Versailles. It does not look good. This seems very 1789,” he said in reference to the French Revolution, which continues to be “an enduring symbol of social inequalities and excess.”
Charles and Queen Consort Camilla were hoping to “relaunch” the British monarchy with the France trip, but Clarke believes “he will likely not be able to have the impact he would have wished” because of the ongoing strife. And it seems he has a reputation problem in France that’s similar to the one at home. “The problem with Charles is that he is not the queen. She was very loved here,” French citizen Geraldine Duberret explained to the media outlet. “Charles does not have such a good reputation here. He seems a bit spoiled.”
Before you go, click here to see the 100 best photos of the royal family from the past 20 years.
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