King Charles was well and truly welcomed in Germany’s parliament on Thursday, after he delivered a speech to lawmakers in both English and German.
As part of the monarch’s first overseas trip since inheriting the throne last September, Charles was meant to be visiting both of the EU’s largest countries – France and Germany – this week.
But, violent protests over pension reforms in France there meant his trip there was postponed. So, Germany had the honour of being the first nation to host him as the UK’s sovereign instead – and it seemed parliamentarians were particularly happy about it.
His speech on Thursday, a day after he touched down in the country, was already highly-anticipated because it made Charles the first British monarch ever to address the German parliament.
And, as CNN’s Max Foster noted on Twitter, he also received an “epic standing ovation” which lasted a whopping one minute and 42 seconds for his speech.
Considering there’s (allegedly) a growing list of pop stars who have turned down the chance to play at his coronation in May, his row with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle is nowhere near being resolved and he’s even had eggs thrown in his direction in the UK, this was a remarkable success for Charles.
His speech, which seemed to be mostly in German, emphasized the commitment to the friendship between the two countries and how “touched” he was by Germany’s response to his late mother the Queen’s death.
The monarch also emphasized how united Europe is against Russia’s aggression towards Ukraine, and he even joked that the countries have “laughed at each other and with each other” – this got a wave of laughter from the parliamentarians.
In terms of soft power, the trip was also meant to help reset UK relations with EU member states in the aftermath of Brexit – and to celebrate PM Rishi Sunak’s recent success in re-negotiating Northern Ireland protocol.
While Charles dodged any direction mention of that (and the negotiations which tied up both the UK and the EU for years), he repeatedly spoke of the unity between Berlin and London.
There were also fears that Prince Harry’s unexpected appearance in London for his court hearing against Associated Newspapers Ltd on Monday and Tuesday would overshadow Charles’ trip.
But, the Bundestag’s ovation seems to prove that the King was still a success. This isn’t the first time Charles has shown off his language skills to woo over an international audience.
Fans of Netflix’s “The Crown” will remember one part (which was accurate) where the then Prince of Wales learnt Welsh just for his 1969 investiture – a move which allegedly helped to quieten some republican sentiment at the time.
He speaks four languages to different levels of fluency – English, French, German and Welsh, although it was his father, the late Prince Philip, who was known for being completely fluent in German.