UK

Prince of Wales and Emmanuel Macron to meet on quarantine exempt visit

French President Emmanuel Macron and Charles, Prince of Wales Image copyright Reuters

The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall will be the first Royal Family members to hold a major event during the coronavirus lockdown when they welcome the French president to the UK.

Charles and Camilla will meet Emmanuel Macron at their London home on 18 June.

They will mark the 80th anniversary of a famous speech by Charles de Gaulle.

Mr Macron will be exempt from a 14-day quarantine imposed on most people who travel to the UK, as a "representative of a foreign country on business".

A Clarence House spokeswoman said government guidelines on social distancing would be followed.

The royal couple will travel from Birkhall in Aberdeenshire, where they have been staying for almost three months, to Clarence House in London to attend the meeting.

Both had to self-isolate in March after Charles, 71, contracted coronavirus.

They have been carrying out royal engagements remotely - via video calls or recorded messages - and are said to be "pleased" to be welcoming Mr Macron to the country.

During the height of lockdown, to curb the spread of coronavirus in France, residents there had to to provide a travel permit to justify any outdoor trips.

Restrictions began to ease on 11 May, and phase two of the easing began on 2 June. Nearly all of France is now in a so-called "green zone" where, for example, bars and restaurants can reopen.

Asked if the French president would be subject to quarantine rules for UK arrivals, a spokesman for Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: "No, he won't."

"As we set out in the guidelines when they were published, the French delegation will fall within the exempted category of representatives of a foreign country or territory travelling to undertake business in the UK."

France's coronavirus death toll rose to 29,374 on Friday, while the UK's rose to 41,481.

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Clarence House said the royal couple would formally receive Mr Macron, with a guard of honour, to celebrate the 80th anniversary of World War Two resistance leader General Charles de Gaulle's "Appel" to the French population.

On 18 June 1940, de Gaulle used a BBC broadcast to urge people to resist the German occupation of France during the Second World War.

"I call upon all Frenchmen who want to remain free to listen to my voice and follow me," he said.

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