King Charles vows to 'strengthen connections' between Britain and Germany

King Charles has pledged to "strengthen the connections" between the UK and Germany on the first state visit of his reign.
The 74-year-old monarch addressed guests in both English and German at the state banquet in Berlin on Wednesday (29.03.23) night and heaped praise on the nation's "extraordinary hospitality" towards Ukrainian refugees who have been displaced due to the conflict with Russia.
The King said: "We stand side-by-side in protecting and advancing our shared democratic values.
"This is epitomised so clearly today as we stand together with Ukraine in defence of freedom and sovereignty in the face of unprovoked aggression."
The state dinner was held at Schloss Bellevue, the official residence of the German president Frank-Walter Steinmeier – who is hosting the event – and Charles thanked the German people for their messages of "support and affection" following the death of his mother Queen Elizabeth last year.
He said: "Over all these years, and in so many ways, I have been struck by the warmth of the friendship between our nations and by the vitality of our partnership in countless areas.
"It was, Mr. President, a friendship which mattered greatly to my mother, the late Queen, who cared deeply about the bond between our two countries.
"The relationship between Germany and the United Kingdom matters greatly to me... I will do all I can to strengthen the connections between us."
The King is on a three-day tour with Queen Consort Camilla and it comes after a planned visit to France was scrapped following protests in several cities over pension reforms.
President Steinmeier had thanked Charles for the "personal gesture" of choosing Germany as the destination for his first overseas trip as monarch.
He said: "This visit, Your Majesty's very first trip abroad as the new King, is a tremendous personal gesture – and for that I would like to express my heartfelt thanks. I am looking forward to the coming days and to the many opportunities we will have to exchange views."