Visit to Germany: King Charles: ovations in the Bundestag, cheese in Brandenburg

It was almost a declaration of love.

Visit to Germany: King Charles: ovations in the Bundestag, cheese in Brandenburg

It was almost a declaration of love. King Charles III spoke in his speech in the Bundestag on Thursday about the German New Year's Eve tradition "Dinner for one" and the British enthusiasm for Berlin's culture and nightlife, about the Beatles and the power plant, about the rivalry in football.

"We admire each other's culture, we are economically dependent on each other, we let each other inspire each other's ideas," enthused the British king. He is proud of this partnership, the impression that Germany and its people have on him is deep.

This speech on the second day of his three-day state visit - held for long stretches in charmingly British-tinged German - shows well how Charles appears in Germany: what was important to the state was the close ties despite Brexit, the military cooperation in supporting Ukraine against the Russian War of aggression, the joint fight against climate change. But there was also personal, forgiving, approachable things. As far as that is possible with a royal on a state visit.

From the luxury hotel to the farmer's market

This is how Charles and his wife Camilla acted in their appointments before the appearance in the Bundestag. Charles signed the City of Berlin's Golden Book at the luxury Hotel Adlon, then made a detour to a farmer's market on Wittenbergplatz near KaDeWe in western Berlin. In both cases, onlookers were initially more moderately curious than really enthusiastic. But somehow the spark jumped over when the 74-year-old monarch showed himself.

"I want to see him because it's his first official visit abroad as a king," said a Briton at the Hotel Adlon. "I'm not a big fan of the monarchy, but that seems like a big deal to me." At Wittenbergplatz, 14-year-old Leo was standing with his grandmother at the barrier when Charles rolled up in his Bentley. "It's cool," Leo said. "You'll remember it for a long time." And what is special about it? "That you will probably only see him this once."

Only those who went through a security check beforehand and entered the market were able to actually see the king. There then formed a dense cluster around the monarch. Charles was given a jar of honey at a beekeeper's stand and, curiously enough, he also gave away a jar of honey himself, the 43-year-old trader later said. "The embassy was here many weeks in advance and prepared us," he revealed. Well, spontaneous is different.

Tight program

Of course, this applies to all dates in this tightly packed programme. Hundreds of police officers, barriers, security checks, and then the king comes for just 20 minutes. Nevertheless, much is of great symbolic power. After his speech in the Bundestag, Charles drove to the arrival center for Ukrainian refugees at the former Tegel Airport. Accompanied by Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, he spoke to a refugee family, representatives of aid organizations and helpers. In the arrivals rooms, he had the procedure for accepting Ukrainians explained to him.

During this trip, Charles specifically focuses on topics - German-British relations, standing up for common values, military cooperation. This also explains the detour to the German-British Engineer Bridge Battalion in Finowfurt, Brandenburg. "Germany is the only country in the world with which the United Kingdom maintains such a common entity," said Charles in the Bundestag.

The soldiers then showed him how they assembled a floating bridge over the Havel-Oder waterway in no time at all. Here, too, Charles found time for a few words with those involved. "The discussions he had were very, very lively and great," said the commander of the battalion, Stefan Klein.

Visit to an eco-village

Finally, the visit to the Brodowin eco-village in Brandenburg demonstrated Charles' great connection to organic farming. However, a heavy thunderstorm upset the otherwise strict and minute-by-minute protocol. At least Charles managed to cut a magnificent Queen Victoria cake as planned, which had been made for him as a crown after hours of detailed work. The item on the program to make cheese yourself also fit into the plan. There was just no time left for stroking the calves. The monarch left, the program for day two was over. On Friday Charles and Camilla continue to Hamburg.

Charles arrives

In a survey conducted by the Yougov research institute, every second person believed that the British monarch's state visit was a sign of Britain's rapprochement with Germany after the Brexit estrangement. 27 percent saw it differently. 24 percent did not provide any information. The monarch's publicity tour seems to be working, if not for everyone.

That's how it was in the Bundestag, by the way. After the speech, the deputies gave the king a standing ovation - including that of the Left Party, although there had been some criticism of the appearance from their ranks beforehand. The previous evening, however, that had not stopped the parliamentary group leaders Dietmar Bartsch and Amira Mohamed Ali from coming to Bellevue Palace for the state banquet in honor of the guests from the island.