Earlier this afternoon, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge arrived to begin their two-day trip to Paris. They met with President Hollande before attending a glamorous reception.
The couple had headed straight to the airport after celebrating St Patrick’s Day with the Irish Guards, and were whisked to the Élysée Palace to meet Francois Hollande upon arrival.
Prince William had changed out of his ceremonial dress uniform, while Catherine remained in her green coat dress, but removed her hat.
Posing for photographs on the Palace’s steps, the Royals then had an audience with the French leader, whom they have met on a number of occasions. While the conversation was conducted in English, the Duke is known to be quite handy with the French language.
The visit is being undertaken at the request of the government, something of a charm offensive on a number of European nations this year as Brexit talks begin, after The Queen gave the bill Royal Assent yesterday.
It was then to the British Ambassador’s residence for William and Kate, where they attended a reception to launch “Les Voisins” (the neighbours) – a celebration of UK and French links. The Royal couple also got to speak with young French leaders.
Here, the Duke gave an address – beginning in French then switching to ‘the language of Shakespeare’ – to gathered guests.
“So much of our countries’ histories, culture and language are intertwined. Those ties of neighbours which run through our history are as powerful today as they have ever been.
Most fundamentally, our nations share a set of common values: democracy, free speech, the rule of law, among many others.
I have been reminded over the last few years, as Catherine and I have attended commemorations of the two World Wars, how much we have experienced together and have stood together in moments of great crisis.
Our relationship is just as strong and enduring today. Our hearts went out to the people of France when you responded so bravely to the awful terrorist attacks of the last two years. I was very proud personally to have been present at the England-France football match just days after the Bataclan.”
Prince William then went on to speak of the close security and intelligence relationship between the UK and France, mentioning how he and his wife ‘entirely share’ The Queen’s enjoyment of her visits across the Channel.
For the final event of the night, William and Catherine were guests of honour at a black-tie dinner, where there was an outfit change into something a little more glamorous.
On the menu was Dublin Bay prawns, crayfish, braised leg of Welsh lamb with seasonal vegetables and roast potatoes with thyme, and an iced white and dark chocolate soufflé, butterscotch sauce with a pistachio and almond diamond shortbread.
Guests for the exclusive evening included Kristin Scott Thomas and Jean Reno.
— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) March 17, 2017