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Queen’s Gift Embodies Royal Diplomacy Ambitions

The Queen’s announcement during her 1978 state visit to Germany that she would like two Holsteiner horses as a gift sparked both fascination and skepticism among German officials. The expense of the horses, reportedly higher than any gift given to a visiting head of state since World War II, surprised and intrigued those responsible for handling diplomatic gifts. Nevertheless, Germany’s then-president Walter Scheel approved the gift, emphasizing the significance of preserving good bilateral relations between the two nations.

Der Spiegel magazine recently exposed the incident, citing previously confidential archive papers. The papers revealed that the Queen’s diplomatic gifts were not limited to the horses alone. Archive records also showed that the Queen had a preference for aperitifs, specifically gin and tonic, and that she disliked helicopters. These peculiar personal details provide an insight into the Queen’s character and demonstrate the level of attention to detail invested in diplomatic courtesies.

During another instance of German-British diplomatic efforts, the Queen’s 1992 visit to Dresden, a city heavily affected by Allied bombing raids during World War II, was not without its challenges. The British embassy expressed concerns about potential protests if the Queen visited the city, but ultimately, she attended a church service and was welcomed by the local population. This gesture of goodwill highlights the Queen’s efforts to promote good relations between nations.

A less contentious aspect of the Queen’s state visits to Germany was her reluctance to deliver a speech at the Bundestag, the German parliament. According to Der Spiegel, then-Chancellor Helmut Kohl raised objections, possibly owing to his lingering resentment towards Britain’s efforts to thwart German reunification a few years earlier. This incident underscores the complexities and sensitivities involved in diplomatic relations between nations.

King Charles III

The Queen made five state visits to Germany, with her most recent visit occurring in 2015. However, only files older than 30 years were released, leaving much of the information surrounding her diplomatic trips to Germany shrouded in secrecy. The forthcoming state visit by King Charles III, scheduled for this week, promises to shed new light on the intricacies of German-British diplomacy.

The report comes as King Charles III prepares to make his first state visit to Germany, following the postponement of a planned trip to France due to anti-government protests. Charles’ three-day visit will include stops in Berlin, Brandenburg, and Hamburg, marking a significant diplomatic effort before his coronation on May 6. Unlike his mother, King Charles will be permitted to address the Bundestag on Thursday, a gesture that reflects the evolving dynamics of diplomatic protocol.

The royal family’s ancestral ties to Germany are well-documented, with their name being changed from Saxe-Coburg and Gotha to Windsor due to anti-German sentiment during World War I. This complex history serves as a reminder of the intricacies involved in diplomatic relations between nations, where both personal preferences and historic grievances can play a significant role in shaping the trajectory of international relations.

The Queen’s gift of two Holsteiner horses to Germany in 1978 represents a fascinating insight into the complexities of diplomatic protocol and the nuances of personal relationships between heads of state. As King Charles III prepares to make his own mark on German-British diplomacy, the legacy of his mother’s visits to Germany serves as a reminder of the importance of fostering good relations and going the complexities of international diplomacy.

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