Britain's King Charles III on Thursday called for a new "Entente" between France and the UK to tackle the climate "emergency", in an unprecedented speech to the French Senate as he seeks to establish his international image.
Before receiving a long standing ovation from deputies and senators, the sovereign supported in his speech "renewing" the "Entente Cordiale" that 120 years ago ended centuries of conflict between the two countries, on the second day of his state visit to France.
"I would like to propose that it also become an Entente for Sustainability, in order to deal more effectively with the global climate and biodiversity emergency," added the 74-year-old monarch known for his environmental advocacy.
The statement came a day after British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced the postponement of several key UK climate policy measures.
With his three-day visit to France, which was originally scheduled for March, the successor to the late Elizabeth II is seeking to set his own agenda, such as the fight against climate change, and to strengthen the Franco-British alliance.
Speaking to French President Emmanuel Macron the day before at a dinner in his honour at the Palace of Versailles, he urged France and the UK to "revitalise" ties damaged by the UK's exit from the European Union (EU).
"The United Kingdom will always remain one of France's best allies and friends," he told the Senate on Thursday, after considering the alliance between the two countries "vital" when facing the "challenges" of the world.
On Russia's "unjustified aggression" in Ukraine, Charles III expressed the "unwavering determination" of London and Paris to see Kiev "triumph" and "precious freedoms prevail".
Camilla versus Brigitte
The monarch has become the first UK monarch to address the French Senate in the Chamber. In 2004, her mother Elizabeth II made a speech in the upper chamber's conference room to lawmakers.
The memory of her mother is present throughout the trip. "The tributes paid to her all over France moved me and my family enormously," the monarch admitted.
For his first state visit to France, he was accompanied by his wife Camilla, who together with Brigitte Macron - spouse of the host head of state - visited the National Library in the morning for the launch of a Franco-British literary prize.
There, Brigitte showed the Queen a dress by French singer Edith Piaf, as well as manuscripts by William Shakespeare and Victor Hugo.
The royal couple and the president's wife then visited the Parisian suburb of Saint-Denis, site of one of the venues for the planned 2024 Olympic Games.
"I thought it was great that they spent some time here with the children (...) It was a great moment for everyone," Prithika Pavade, a 19-year-old table tennis player, who played a brief match against Camilla, told AFP.
The queen and Brigitte also played a few minutes of pelota before continuing the visit at a Chanel couture atelier, where Camilla tried her hand at the loom.
On the square in front of Saint-Denis cathedral, in the rain, some Paris Saint-Germain players and their president, Nasser al-Khelaifi, presented the king with a club shirt bearing his name.
The king, a keen gardener who once admitted to talking to his plants, returned to Paris with Camilla to visit a popular flower market in central Paris, named "Queen Elizabeth II" since 2014.
The monarchs rejoined Emmanuel Macron and his wife in front of Notre Dame de Paris cathedral, a jewel of French architecture partially destroyed by fire in 2019, to see reconstruction work.
Later, Charles III will speak at the closing of a round table at the National Museum of Natural History in Paris, dedicated to "climate finance", the actions undertaken by banks in response to climate change.
The Paris leg of the state visit will conclude with a farewell to Macron at the Elysée Palace, but the British monarch's trip will continue on Friday in Bordeaux (southwest) with a more ecology-focused programme.