I do love a good royal tour and thank God for the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall, because we’re not going to get another joint trip out of the Cambridges this year thanks to the arrival of Prince Louis. Just one month after a visit to Australia, the couple are in the middle of five-day trek to France and Greece. In fact, they’re kicking off the second leg today, but before we cover that later this week I want to capture their last couple days in Nice and Lyon.
The tour started on a somber note in Nice when the two paid their respects at commemorations to remember those who died during the attack on Le Promenade des Anglais in July 2016. The flowers that Charles lay were picked from the gardens at his Gloucestershire home, Highgrove.
Then it was off to Èze, images from which were flashing about social media and the news all Monday. The couple received masterclass on scents and perfume-making at Fragonard Perfumery and I’m frankly very jealous – I’ve always wanted to do this! I take my perfume very, very seriously.
A walk through the Medieval village gave us fantastic shots of Mediterranean architecture and old, narrow cobbled streets. They posed for pictures that give a glimpse of atmosphere (and reportedly the Sea itself, but I haven’t found an image that does it justice!)
Finally, on Monday evening, Charles gave a speech that paid homage to the ties between the UK and Nice. You can read it in full here, but I will pull out his references to Queen Victoria (because, of course I will :))
Of course, this part of France has long been particularly adored by the British, including by my own forebears. My great-great-great-grandmother,Queen Victoria, came to the Cote d’Azur nine times during the latter part of her life and Nice became an especially cherished escape for her. There is, I know, a rather lovely statue of her just up the road from here in Cimiez.
On one of her last visits, Queen Victoria wrote in her journal “Alas! My last charming drive in this paradise of nature, which I grieve to leave, as I get more attached to it every year. I shall mind returning to the sunless north, but I am so grateful for all I have enjoyed here.”
Ladies and gentlemen, I can only understand too well Queen Victoria’s deep affection for this very special part of France for, as brief as our visit is on this occasion, we will take with us such special memories. And like so many of our fellow countrymen and women who visit this region every year, we will leave determined to return before too long.
Day Two kicked off in Lyon in honor of VE Day.
In a ceremony in front of Parc Tete d’Or, a monument honoring those who died in France during World War II, Charles laid a wreath.
The two then met with veterans, children and members of the public who arrived for the ceremony and – quite likely – a chance to spot the Prince and Duchess.
Then it was off to make a food stop. I have to say, I love that Charles and Camilla always incorporate an engagement that incorporates eating. I know, I know, it’s quite common for the Royal Family when abroad, but given Charles’s focus on sustainable agriculture I feel like his and Camilla’s stops are always a bit more involved.
And they always seem to genuinely enjoy themselves – and each other.
As you know, I don’t cover Charles’s and Camilla’s engagements regularly, but when I do I am always struck by how much fun they seem to be having with each other. I know their relationship has its detractors, but at some point you have to give it up to a happy marriage.
This particular stop saw them at Les Halles de Lyon-Paul Bocuse food market, where they visited stalls, including a cured meat stall which sells a Lyon-based meat called Saucisson de Lyon. The more you know.
Per the Prince of Wales’s website:
The Prince of Wales continued the day at Interpol, where he was given a tour by Secretary General Jürgen Stock, taking in the building’s command centre and meeting staff working on a variety of crime areas, including the illegal wildlife trade, modern slavery and works of art. During the visit, His Royal Highness was briefed on Operation Libertad, which saw the rescue of 350 potential victims of human trafficking across the Americas.
The couple then split for solo engagements – while Charles went off to ISARA Lyon University, Camilla visited VIFILL SOS Femmes, a refuge for women and children who have suffered domestic violence. Camilla’s focus on women and domestic violence in the UK doesn’t get enough credit, in my opinion, but they are issues she has consistently worked on for a couple years now.
I came across the below courtesy of royal reporter Rhiannon Mills:
Mills reported on the visit in more detail for Sky News – the below is pulled from the article:
Asked why she had decided to make domestic violence a focus for her charity work, she said: “I’d always known about domestic abuse, in fact I knew people who’d suffered from it, but I’d no idea of the extent or how many people, how many women actually around the world are suffering from it.
“I went to this meeting for Safelives, and these incredibly brave women got up and they each told their stories and they were the most moving stories I’ve ever heard.
“I mean there was nobody in the whole audience without a tear in their eye.”
Safelives is a UK charity that works to reduce domestic violence.
The meeting that moved Camilla to increase her commitment to the issue took place in Vauxhall, London, in 2016. […]
Asked why she believed that we need to talk more about abuse, she added: “If we don’t keep talking about it, it’s going to go on, it’s going to get worse.
“If we talk about it, I think a lot of these women here were telling me they come out feeling stronger.”
Since 2009, the Duchess of Cornwall has worked to raise awareness of the issues facing those affected by sexual violence and domestic abuse.
Finally, Tuesday ended at Emmaus Lyon, a charity focused on supporting the homeless through donated and discarded goods. Camilla has been a patron of the organization’s UK branch since 2006.
With that, I’m going to do my best to get a historical post up tomorrow AM, but in case things go sideways, we can at the very least convene back here on Friday for all things #royalvisitGreece 🙂