His Majesty King Charles III spoke at the Federal President’s state banquet, during the King’s 2023 state visit to Germany, his first state visit abroad.

Delivered in German:

Mr President, it is hard to know how to thank you enough for those tremendously kind words, as well as for your unforgettable hospitality this evening in such a magnificent setting.

It is wonderful to be in such large company tonight. It is nice of you all, not to have left me alone with a ‘Dinner for One!’

My wife and I have been so deeply touched by the warmth of the welcome that has been extended to us in Germany – just as we have on each of our previous visits to this very special country.

Remarkably, I realize I have visited Germany more than 40 times – a measure of the importance of this relationship, of course, but also, I fear, of just how long I have been around!

From each visit I have retained the most treasured memories, which I recall with great affection.

Delivered in English:

I think, Mr President, of the particular kindness and friendship which you and Frau Büdenbender showed to both my wife and myself on our last visits to Berlin in 2019 and 2020.

I also think fondly of the time my wife and I sampled Bavarian sausages at a farmers’ market in Munich, and found ourselves drinking beer and waltzing around at the Hofbräuhaus! I think I can understand why St Boniface, an English monk, who is famous for having preached in Germany, is also a patron saint of brewers!

I recall, in particular, how much I have learnt from my visits over the years about organic and agro-ecological farming, and I credit German expertise with greatly improving my own farms and soil. Indeed, I think we all have something to learn from Germany’s enduring respect for what Goethe called ‘the sublime language of nature’.

Over all these years, and in so many ways, I have been struck by the warmth of the friendship between our nations and by the vitality of our partnership in countless areas.

It was, Mr President, a friendship which mattered greatly to my mother, The late Queen, who cared deeply about the bond between our 2 countries. I did want to thank you all, once again, for the profoundly touching messages of support and affection we received from so many people in Germany following the sadness of her death last year. Ladies and Gentlemen, your kindness meant more to my family and myself than I can possibly express.

The relationship between Germany and the United Kingdom matters greatly to me, too, Mr President, and I am more convinced than ever of its enduring value to us all. It means so much to us that my wife and I could come to Germany as part of this very first overseas tour of my reign. I can only assure you, that throughout the time that is granted to me as King, I will do all I can to strengthen further the connections between us.

In this, I know that I will be supporting the extraordinary efforts of countless people who contribute so much to the relationship between the United Kingdom and Germany.

As I look around the room this evening, I see such talented and dedicated individuals who embody the breadth of our partnership in so many fields – engineering, technology, science, the environment, the arts, education and so much more.

Our countries are working together to promote global health, to help developing countries overcome their challenges and prosper, and to advance the urgent and vital journey towards net zero.

And, of course, we stand side-by-side in protecting and advancing our shared democratic values. This is epitomised so clearly today as we stand together with Ukraine in defence of freedom and sovereignty in the face of unprovoked aggression. In this regard, I did want to pay a particular tribute to Germany’s extraordinary hospitality in hosting over one million Ukrainian refugees. This, it seems to me, so powerfully demonstrates the generosity of spirit of the German people.

Delivered in German:

Mr President, Germany and the United Kingdom are deeply invested in each other’ futures. I am utterly convinced that the connections between us will grow ever stronger as, together, we pursue a more sustainable, prosperous and secure future. Perhaps the Ash tree that I planted in your beautiful garden this afternoon might, in some small way, offer a symbol for the growth and future flourishing of our partnership.

I hope, with all my heart, that my wife and I live long enough to return to this wonderful city, to see how our tree has grown, and to continue to play our part in this cherished friendship between our 2 nations. Allow me to raise a toast: to you, Mr President and Frau Büdenbender, and to a friendship which is not only heartfelt, but in the truest sense of the word, sustainable. Cheers!

Published 30 March 2023