Queen Elizabeth to make state visit to France
PARIS, March 29 (AFP) - French officials on Monday confirmed preparations for a three-day state visit next week by Britain's Queen Elizabeth II and her husband, Prince Philip, to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the "entente cordiale" between their two countries.
The long-planned trip will start next Monday, with the monarch being greeted by President Jacques Chirac, foreign ministry officials said. A banquet in her honour will be held later that day.
On Tuesday, the royal couple will be feted at a lunch put on by the French prime minister, and a dinner at the British ambassador’s residence.
The queen is also to address the French parliament, visit a cavalry school in western France and inspect a British art room being built at the Louvre museum.
On the last day, Wednesday, the queen and her husband will go to the southwestern city of Toulouse for a lunch with the mayor and a tour of the headquarters of Airbus, the European aircraft manufacturer. They are to return to London in the afternoon.
It will be the queen’s fourth state visit to France, following ones in 1957, 1972 and 1992.
“This visit opens the celebrations for the centenary of the entente cordiale, the agreements signed by the United Kingdom and France on April 8, 1904 and whose anniversary this year will be celebrated with special energy,” French foreign ministry spokesman Herve Ladsous said.
The Franco-British accords put an end to hundreds of years of rivalry – many of them marked by wars – and laid the foundations for a cooperative relationship that has endured through the world wars to the present day.
Subject: French news