King Charles Advocates for Climate Change Action, Ukraine in Historic French Senate Address

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King Charles addressed the French Senate, eliciting a tide of resounding applause. During his impassioned speech, he emphatically advocated for Ukraine’s triumph over Russia’s frightful intrusion. The discourse, a blend of English and French, underscored the monumental and existential threat posed by climate change.

Eager anticipation hovered over the event, with many wondering if the King would respond to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s recent shift on net-zero targets. Regardless, Charles tactfully sidestepped any veiled critique, maintaining a diplomatic stance throughout his address.

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“The challenge confronting our planet is colossal and urgent,” the King told the gathered senators, “yet it is heartening to witness the increasingly proactive steps undertaken by our governments, our populace, and, increasingly, the private sector.”

Traditionally, royal speeches are crafted under the guidance of ministers. As such, maintaining a politically neutral tone is usually the norm. However, the timing with Sunak’s change in direction on net zero just as a state visit focusing on environmental protection took place could not go unnoticed. This overlap stoked the coals for speculation regarding any discord between Downing Street and Buckingham Palace on climate-related matters.

Marking a historical milestone, King Charles became the first British monarch to address policymakers within the esteemed French Senate building. He articulated his desire to not only ‘nourish and cherish’ the entente cordiale between France and Britain but also aimed for it be a relationship that spurred sustainability.

Surveying the opulent Senate chamber, the King appeared visibly moved by the sustained applause he received. He drew parallels between the unified fortitude of Britain and France during the wartime and the urgent need for similar unity in contemporary battlefields such as climate change and the war in Ukraine. He viewed the latter as a collective defence of democratic principles against unprovoked hostility.

“We remain steadfast in our shared resolve that Ukraine will prevail, and our treasured liberties will triumph,” the King declared, delivering these remarks in French for added emphasis.

King Charles also touched on the fondness his late mother — the Queen — held for France, underlining the enduring alliance between the two nations. Though the speech was serious and devoid of humoristic asides, it was nonetheless well received, particularly for the King’s considerable use of French. His impressive linguistics led language expert Malcolm Massey to praise his pronunciation and commendable accent.

Following the auspicious occasion, the King and Queen – amongst the drizzle of Paris – toured the iconic Notre Dame cathedral, inspecting the ongoing restoration progress in the wake of the disastrous fire. A meeting with sports legends, including former Chelsea footballer Didier Drogba ensued, and Queen Camilla unveiled an Anglo-French literary award.

Recalling her study years in Paris six decades prior, the Queen shared her sentiments with guests at the French national library. The royal visit, spanning three days, is set to conclude with the royal couple touring environmental projects in the wine-rich region of Bordeaux.