King Charles’s state visit to France is hailed as a success for Anglo-French relations – but the relationships between British embassy staff and the Élysée team prove difficult
- President Emmanuel Macron seemed to enjoy a bond with King Charles III
- But behind the scenes relations between their aides were said to be strained
- One British aide described the Élysée team during the royal visit as ‘difficult’
- Latest Rugby World Cup 2023 news, including fixtures, live scores and results
King Charles’s state visit to France last week has been hailed a success for Anglo-French relations.
Footage showed that President Emmanuel Macron enjoyed a genuine bond with the King, which some even labelled a ‘bromance’, while his wife Brigitte got on famously with Queen Camilla.
But The Mail on Sunday can reveal that behind the scenes relationships between British embassy staff and the Élysée team were not as cordial – with one aide describing the French as ‘difficult’.
The visit was managed by Buckingham Palace aides and a Foreign Office team, along with French officials and security forces.
It fell on an ‘extremely difficult week’ for French police, said Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin, who also had to cope with the Rugby World Cup and a trip to Marseille by the Pope.
King Charles’s state visit to France has been hailed a success for Anglo-French relations, with some saying that President Emmanuel Macron enjoyed a genuine bond with the monarch
Queen Camilla was also said to have got on famously with Macron’s wife Brigitte, but The Mail on Sunday can reveal that behind the scenes relationships between British embassy staff and the Élysée team were not as cordial
Leaks in the French press made things worse. The King and Queen had to fly to Bordeaux rather than take the train after their plans were published by local media.
READ MORE: King Charles and Camilla meet the Macrons at the Élysée Palace to say goodbye – after the Queen took on the First Lady at table tennis and met domestic abuse survivors
The MoS understands that Buckingham Palace felt fully supported by Macron’s team. But at times, the rigorous schedule and security pressures caused tensions on the ground to boil over.
At Notre Dame, an argument broke out when the Gendarmerie would not let embassy staff escort British media to a viewpoint in the cathedral, and at the Palace of Versailles chaotic scenes unfolded as a recital by the Orchestra of the Chateau de Versailles in the Royal Chapel was cancelled.
An embassy official later suggested the French had ‘mistranslated’ the trip to the chapel.
Tensions rose further on the second day of the tour when an apocalyptic downpour altered plans to visit the Rugby World Cup village outside Paris at the last minute.
‘This is actually terrible. The rain ruined that visit,’ an official said.
An embassy source complained that preparations for the visit were thwarted because many French officials went on holiday weeks before in August, making it ‘impossible to get anything done’.
One British official said: ‘They’re quite difficult to deal with, the Élysée people.’
Another agreed: ‘Paris was chaotic. The French knew everything in advance and would not tell us information for security reasons.’
Buckingham Palace declined to comment.
Behind the scenes: At the Palace of Versailles all seemed well at the state dinner, but aides were said to have been left frustrated as a recital by the Orchestra of the Chateau de Versailles in the Royal Chapel was cancelled
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