Germany prepares pomp for Charles III's first foreign trip

Britain's Charles III will arrive in Germany on Wednesday for his first state visit as king, after a planned trip to France was postponed in the face of political protests.

British Union Jack flags have been raised along Berlin's central Unter den Linden avenue, which leads to the Brandenburg Gate, in anticipation of the monarch's arrival.

German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and German first lady Elke Buedenbender will welcome Charles and Queen Consort Camilla with military honours at the famous landmark, the first time it has provided a backdrop for receiving a state guest.

During his three-day visit, Charles will become the first monarch to address the German parliament, with a speech on Thursday, before travelling to the port city of Hamburg on Friday.

The decision to call on close neighbours first is widely seen as an attempt to build post-Brexit bridges, with Steinmeier calling it "an important European gesture".

"This visit early on underlines the close and heartfelt friendship between our countries and our citizens," he said.

The German public will get a chance to come face-to-face with the royal couple at the Brandenburg Gate on Wednesday, although with space for only around 1,500 spectators, well-wishers have been advised to turn up early. 

"The British royal family garners a lot of interest" in Germany, said Michael Hartmann, a sociology professor at Darmstadt Technical University, noting the bestseller status of the autobiography by Charles's son Prince Harry.

The fascination with the House of Windsor has not dimmed since the death last year of Elizabeth II, Hartmann told AFP.

The late queen first visited Berlin in 1965 when the city was divided between a capitalist West and communist...

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