Macron to visit London in first trip since pandemic

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French President Emmanuel Macron

French president Emmanuel Macron will meet Britain’s Prince Charles when he visits London next week, his first trip abroad since the coronavirus crisis.

Macron will visit London on Thursday to commemorate the 80th anniversary of former French president Charles de Gaulle’s appeal to French people to resist the Nazi occupation during World War II.

He will award the Legion of Honour to London, making it the seventh city to be decorated with France’s highest order of merit, after Algiers, Belgrade, Brazzaville, Liege, Luxembourg and Volgograd.

The trip abroad will be Macron’s first since he travelled to Naples for a French-Italian summit on 27 February, weeks before Europe’s borders closed to help halt the spread of the virus.

Prince Charles, who is in line to succeed Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II, and his wife Camilla will be the first members of the royal family to leave lockdown and attend a major event.

Charles himself contracted Covid-19 and was forced to self-isolate at his mother’s Balmoral estate in northeast Scotland.

Britain this week introduced a mandatory 14-day quarantine for most travellers coming from abroad. The measures are designed to prevent new infections from abroad.

But the French leader will be exempt, prime minister Boris Johnson’s spokesman told reporters on Friday.

As we set out in the guidelines when they were published, the French delegation will fall within the exempted category of representatives of a foreign country or territory travelling to undertake business in the UK.