A look back at Queen Elizabeth II’s first official visit to France – WWD

During her historic 70-year reign, Queen Elizabeth II undertook extensive state visits throughout the Commonwealth and beyond. Five years after ascending the throne, Her Majesty visited France in 1957, marking her first official visit as Queen of England.

Elizabeth II traveled to France in 1948 as a princess. At the time, she was pregnant with Prince Charles, who would eventually become King.

On Wednesday, King Charles III and Queen Camilla made their first official visit to France as members of the royal family. The couple originally planned to travel there in March, but they postponed their trip following mass protests surrounding President Emmanuel Macron’s new pension policy, which raised the retirement age from 62 to 64. During their visit, the King and Queen are expected to spend time together. With President Macron and his wife Brigitte, he rebuilt the bond between the two countries damaged by Brexit.

Take a look back at Queen Elizabeth II’s 1957 visit, before King Charles III and Queen Camilla landed in France.

Visit to Orly

French President René Coty greets Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh as they arrive at Orly Airport in 1957.

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Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip touched down in Paris on April 8. A large crowd greeted them on their arrival at the Elysee Palace, the official residence of the French president.

Night at the Opera

Queen Elizabeth II was escorted by President Gotti at the Paris Opera in 1957.

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French President René Gotti invited the royal couple to the Paris Opera where they saw a performance of the ballet „Le Chevalier et la Damoiselle.” Following the performance, the Queen congratulated lead dancers Liane Dayte and Michel Renaud.

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For the occasion, Elizabeth wore a gown by Norman Hartnell, the designer behind her 1947 wedding dress. Hartnell’s beaded creation pays homage to France, featuring images of the country’s national flower, the iris, and Napoleon’s symbol, the bumblebee. The Queen wore the Grand Duchess Vladimir Tiara, which previously belonged to her grandmother, Queen Mary of Teck. Elizabeth wore a Delhi Durbar necklace, a lavish collar studded with diamonds and several large emeralds.

Louvre reception

Queen Elizabeth II and President Gotti during a reception at the Louvre in 1957.

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President Gotti hosted a dinner to celebrate the Queen’s visit. Approximately 3,000 guests attended the Louvre banquet held in the Salle des Cariatides. Today, the wing houses Greek sculptures.

Her Majesty wore an emerald green gown with a women’s tiara of Great Britain and Ireland. Purchased in 1898 as a wedding gift for Queen Mary, the diamond tiara was designed by former crown jeweler Garrard.

River cruise

Accompanied by President Goti, the royal couple traveled by boat along the Chain, where they enjoyed a fireworks display at Pont Alexandre III.

After Queen Elizabeth II cruised the Seine with President Coty and the Duke of Edinburgh.

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Queen Elizabeth chose a white beaded gown with a fur stole, as well as Queen Mary’s fringe tiara, the same diamond crown she wore on her wedding day.

Visit to Versailles

After exploring the grounds of France’s most elegant palace, the Queen was treated to lunch in the Hall of Mirrors. His son Charles would dine at the palace during his visit.

In 1957 Queen Elizabeth II hosted the Versailles banquet.

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