King Charles III and the Queen Consort arrived in France on Wednesday 20 September for an official visit of three days. On the agenda: 2 days in Paris, including a Versailles dinner, and 1 day in Bordeaux.
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This visit, which had to be rescheduled from March to September, has caused many controversies in its short period. Indeed, King Charles is rumoured to have caused havoc in Bordeaux as the inhabitants of the city were given no warning of his itinerary, leaving them to sort themselves out as roads and public transport closed.
Moreover, this visit has also been difficult for the French President who was vehemently criticised for having held the Versailles dinner. The luxurious event was deemed ‘unacceptable’ by French citizens as the country currently goes through a cost of living crisis.
Now, as King Charles is set to leave France, another controversy is arising, this time about his ecological stance.
King Charles is the ‘climate King’
An article from The Washington Post published a week after King Charles became King, gives him the title of 'climate King.' A title that many believe he deserves as, through the years, King Charles has demonstrated a keen interest in climate change and the environment.
TheWashington Post explains:
(he) has spent the last 50-odd years speaking out about climate change, pollution and deforestation.
Much has been made of the new king’s penchant for organic farming and his outspoken support for climate action
This ‘penchant’ of King Charles is also a part of his current French visit. Indeed, in Bordeaux, the monarch will be visiting an ‘experimental forest designed to monitor the impact of climate on urban woodlands’ as well as ‘a vineyard known for its sustainable approach to winemaking.’ Not only that, the King is expected to interact with victims of wildfires caused by climate change.
Nevertheless, as the last day is clearly centered around the King’s love for the environment, a decision he made before coming to France is being challenged and questioned.
King Charles and Camilla’s royal Bentley
An article from The Guardian published on 20 Wednesday has launched outrage among royal watchers.
The outrage arose because of this one specific line:
The king and queen were driven from the airport in their own Bentley, which was transported from the UK.
The fact that the royal couple decided to not only take a plane but also take their own car with them isn’t sitting right with many people and they are now, more than ever, doubtful of King Charles’ environmental engagement.
Moreover, it has been revealed by French publication Gala that the couple’s visit to Bordeaux will only last 5 hours. They will therefore be taking two flights on the same day as they will not be taking the train to the South of France.
Already in 2022, The Washington Post wrote that the monarch’s ‘environmental views’ were ‘complex.’ They expend:
He represents some of the paradoxes of a world coming to grips with climate change: a man with extreme wealth and a significant carbon footprint speaking out against global warming; a political figurehead with very little real political clout.
Being a traditional environmentalist — one who loves trees, nature and animals — does not mean that you support the changes necessary to combat climate change.
As king, he is likely to do even more high-carbon flying, easily placing his personal carbon emissions in the top zero-point-something percent of all humans on the planet. And while carbon footprint is a blunt instrument by which to measure environmental impact, the richest people in the world, including the royal family, live in ways difficult to square with a rapidly warming planet.
The Guardian: Stars join King Charles at Versailles banquet during French state visit
AP News: King Charles goes to Bordeaux to visit urban forest and sustainable winery
The Washington Post: The many paradoxes of Charles III as ‘climate king’
Gala: Live Coverage of Royal Visit