Two busy days, but job done for the King and Queen in Paris.

If Wednesday was the ceremonial, Thursday was the business end of the capital’s charm offensive.

The centrepiece was a speech from the King to the French parliament, pledging to strengthen relations between Britain and France.

The King is applauded in the French Senate

It was a historic moment – no monarch before has spoken from the Senate floor.

And historic references peppered the speech, notably the Entente Cordiale signed by his great, great grandfather King Edward VII.

But from the King a modern take, why not an Entente for sustainability he proposed? The climate crisis is a cause he has long campaigned for.

In pictures:
King gifted football shirt – as Queen plays table tennis

And while his words were very much written with and approved by the government, the timing felt awkward, with Westminster making headlines by delaying some climate targets over its net zero strategy, including pushing back the deadline for banning sales of petrol and diesel cars from 2030 to 2035.

It was, though, a warm speech, very much aimed at friendship and common causes. A reference to the late Queen Elizabeth II too – “she loved France, and France loved her”.

And the reception in the chamber was warm too, a standing ovation, which one French paper remarked was “very rare”.

Read more:
King sits above politics but speech was list of political priorities
Rock stars join King and Queen at banquet
Why visit to France was rescheduled

Beyond the politics, the visit took the couple on a tour of photo opportunities with communities and causes close to them.

The Queen apologised for her “rusty” French as she launched a cross-Channel literature prize.

She then took on the first lady, Brigitte Macron, at table tennis in Saint-Denis, incidentally not far from recent rioting.

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Queen showcases her table tennis skills

A reminder perhaps why security has been so tight.

The cordons are large, making it hard for well-wishers to get close.

But the bonhomie has been abundant. The president put on a show. Every second of the last two days, projecting a diplomatic display of Anglo-French unity.

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