King Charles III and Queen Camilla embarked on their first state visit to France on Wednesday morning, with a pearly pink moment from Camilla in Paris.
Charles and Camilla had been due to make a state visit to France back in March. But mass strikes and protests gripped Paris at that particular moment, so it was decided to postpone the visit. (They went ahead with the second leg of the planned trip, a state visit to Germany.) Now, the three-day state visit is finally going ahead. The program includes a state dinner this evening at the Palace of Versailles and engagements in Paris and Bordeaux.
The royal couple touched down at Orly Airport on Wednesday, where they were greeted by French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne.
From the airport, Charles and Camilla were driven into the heart of Paris for a welcome ceremony at the Arc de Triomphe.
French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife, Brigitte, were waiting for the King and Queen on the Champs Élysées.
The King and President Macron reviewed troops during the official welcome ceremony.
They also participated in a wreath-laying ceremony at the monument.
That ceremony offered one of the more dramatic moments of the welcome ceremony: a military flypast featuring the elite acrobatic flying teams of both the French Air Force (the Patrouille de France) and the British Royal Air Force (the Red Arrows).
For her arrival in France, Queen Camilla wore a pink coat dress by Fiona Clare with a coordinating hat by Philip Treacy.
She accessorized with some of the most-worn jewels from her collection: her diamond floral button earrings with round pearl drop pendants, plus her four-stranded pearl necklace with the round diamond clasp.
She also wore her engagement and wedding rings, plus her usual stack of bracelets on her right wrist, including her blue Van Cleef & Arpels bracelet. To my great disappointment, though: no brooch! No brooch at all!
Buckingham Palace has not yet contacted me to take over the role of Chief Brooch Selector (call me, Your Majesties!), but here are some of the options I would have chosen if I were in charge of the Queen’s jewels for the day. You could go lots of different directions where French visits are concerned, but I’d point my gaze at both French diplomatic gifts and jewels made by Cartier.
One brooch fits into both categories: the Coral Rose Brooch, gifted to Queen Elizabeth II by the 1990 by the French Order of the Liberation to mark the 50th anniversary of a pair of landmark speeches, one by Churchill and one by de Gaulle, delivered in London during World War II. The jewel was made in the 1950s by Cartier. Above, Elizabeth wears the brooch in Paris in April 2004 to celebrate the centenary of the Entente Cordiale.
But if there were concerns about the coral red and pink clashing, there are plenty of other good brooch options as well. If you type “Cartier” and “rose” into the Queen’s brooch database, you’ll find several other sparkling pieces. Among them are the brooches salvaged from the dismantled Nizam of Hyderabad Tiara. They were made in the 1930s by Cartier. Camilla would have had the option of either wearing the larger brooch or one (or both!) of the smaller pair.
There’s also this diamond Cartier clip brooch, in the shape of a rose, worn by Queen Elizabeth II at Royal Ascot in 2016.
But I think my ultimate choice to pair with this pink ensemble would have been another grand Cartier jewel: the Williamson Pink Diamond Brooch. The jonquil-shaped brooch, made by Cartier in London in 1953, features one of the world’s rarest pink diamonds as its centerpiece. The choice would also have been a nice nod to the late Queen’s final state visit to Paris, as she wore it at the Elysee Palace in June 2014.
But alas, Camilla opted for no brooch at all. Here’s one more look at her welcome ceremony ensemble, as well as the nautical-themed navy outfit worn by Madame Macron. If you were Queen Camilla, which royal brooch would you have pinned to your coat for your arrival in Paris?