He may not have much respect forthe ‘Clown’, but when it comes to the Queen Emmanuel Macron is as smitten ashis compatriots.
With political relations between France and Britain at theircoldest for decades, and Macron reportedly regarding Prime Minister BorisJohnson as more suitable for the circus, the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee hasprovided the French president with an opportunity to warm up his rhetoric.
In a video address to Her Majesty published on Thursday, Macronpraised the constancy of the Queen’s Francophilia throughout her 70 years on thethrone. ‘Times have changed, Europe has evolved, our continent is againexperiencing war,’ said Macron. ‘Through these transformations, your devotionto our alliance and to our friendship has remained, and has helped build thetrust that brought freedom and prosperity to our continent.’
There were clues in the two-minute homage that perhaps thepresident wants his second term in office to bring better relations betweenBritain and France. ‘You are the golden thread that binds our two countries,’he told the Queen. ‘The proof of the unwavering friendship between our nations.’
Your Majesty, pic.twitter.com/NIKB7wNTBy
— Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) June 2, 2022
There were historical references: a mention of Charles de Gaulle,and the courage and determination of the wartime generation, the Queen’sgeneration, who ‘fought for the freedom we now enjoy’.
Macron ended his address in French, a language the Queen speaks,declaring that the Jubilee is an occasion to ‘celebrate the sincere and deepfriendship that unites our two countries, and your devotion to it. YourMajesty, it is my privilege to extend to you, on behalf of the French people,my heartfelt congratulations’.
There was an accompanying gift, a seven-year-old grey gelding ofthe ceremonial French Republican Guard which was delivered to Windsor Castle onWednesday. The present will be appreciated by the Queen. According to oneFrench news broadcaster on Wednesdayevening, over the decades she has made severalprivate visits to France in her capacity as a racing aficionado, eitherattending races or casting an eye over horses that might have enhanced herstable.
The coverage of the Jubilee has been extensive in France, in theprint and broadcast media, and Thursday’s celebrations were screened live onFrance2, one of the main free-to-view channels. The British Ambassador, MennaRawlings, appeared on television to give her thoughts on why the French have somuch warmth for the Monarch.
For some, it’s because they know the Queen’s affection for Franceis deep-seated; her visit in 1948 aged 22, with her new husband in tow, was herfirst time she had been outside the United Kingdom. Between 1957 and 2014 shemade five State visits, each one generating huge crowds of well-wishers.
For others the Queen’s immutability is what they admire. When shecame to the throne the president was Vincent Auriol, the first of the FourthRepublic. Macron is the eighth of the Fifth Republic, and the youngest she hasknown. In fact, when the Queen celebrated her Silver Jubilee Macron was afoetus. Probably just as well the president didn’t mention that in his address.
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