In a historic speech to the German parliament, Britain’s King Charles III on Thursday called for stronger cooperation between the UK and Germany.
“It means a lot to me, and to my wife, that we’re invited to Germany for my first overseas visit as the king,” he said, speaking in German. Charles took the throne last September after the death of his mother, the long-reigning Queen Elizabeth II.
“I’m particularly pleased that I’m able to speak here today to reassert the commitment to friendship between our countries.”
Charles, on a three-day state visit to Germany, became the first British monarch to address the German Bundestag or parliament.
During his speech, he underlined that the UK and Germany are united to defend liberal and democratic values, and support Ukraine against Russia.
“The security of Europe, and our democratic values, came under threat. But the world did not stand idly by and watch,” he said, adding that the UK and Germany today are the two largest supporters of Ukraine.
“Germany’s decision to provide major military support to Ukraine is extremely courageous, important and welcome,” he stressed.
“We are horrified by the dreadful destruction that we have seen (in Ukraine), but let us get courage from our unity in defending Ukraine, defending liberty, and defending democracy,” Charles said.
His comments got prolonged applause from German Cabinet members, lawmakers, and other guests.
After his speech, Charles visited a refugee center in Tegel, Berlin and met with Ukrainian women and children who fled the war, now over 13 months old.
Charles and German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier later traveled to Finowfurt near Berlin, and visited the joint German-British Amphibious Engineer Battalion.
There they were briefed by British and German soldiers and saw a demonstration of amphibious vehicles establishing a bridge over the Oder-Havel Canal.
The British royal family has a large German component from as recently as the 19th century.