King Charles III’s state visit to France has been postponed at the last minute following violent protests over attempts to raise the retirement age in France.
Security threats, including graffiti reading “Death to the King” and “Charles III do you know the guillotine?” prompted the postponement with French President Emmanuel Macron saying it would “lack common sense” to go ahead with the visit.
The decision to postpone the three day state visit came after a telephone call between Macron and King Charles, according to a statement from the French president’s office.
“I think we would not be serious and lack common sense to propose to His Majesty the King and the Queen Consort to come do a state visit in the middle of the demonstrations,” said Macron at a summit in Brussels.
“As we have much friendship, respect and esteem for his majesty the king and queen consort and the British people, I took the initiative and called him to tell him the situation and the announcement of a new day of action and good sense and friendship led us to propose a postponement.”
Riots have intensified after Macron forced through measures to raise the retirement age in France from 62 to 64.
The trip was to have been King Charles and Queen Consort Camilla’s first state visit since he became monarch. A Buckingham Palace spokesperson said: “Their Majesties greatly look forward to the opportunity to visit France as soon as dates can be found.”
King Charles will visit Germany from Wednesday as planned. He is expected to visit France later this summer.
Meanwhile the Financial Times reports that delays to raising the UK state pension age riskes costing the £60 billion according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies.
The think-tank said waiting until 2044-46 to raise the age from 66 to 68, rather than 2037-39 as the government wanted, will cost up to £9bn per year of delay.
However, the FT points out that because life expectancy in the UK has actually been falling since 2016, according to the Office for National Statistics
In 2016 life expectancy for men was 85.6 years but in 2020 it had fallen to 83.9. For women in the same period the figures fell from 88.1 to 86.7.
The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) estimates the total cost of the state pension will rise from £110bn in 2022-23 to around £148bn by 2027-28.
Recipients of the UK state pension will receive £203.85 per week from April.
A spokesperson for the Department for Work and Pensions said the government is “required by law to regularly review the state pension age”.
The next review is set to be published on May7.