Charles and Camilla, the queen consort, received a 21-gun salute after landing at Berlin’s government airport in the early afternoon on Wednesday, as two military jets performed a flyover.
In advance of the three-day visit, the pair said on Twitter via the royal family’s account that they were “very much looking forward to meeting all of those who make this country so special”.
“It is a great joy to be able to continue the deepening of the longstanding friendship between our two nations,” they said.
German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and his wife Elke Budenbender met the British royals at Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate. They are scheduled to accompany Charles and Camilla during their trip and host a white-tie dinner at Schloss Bellevue, the German president’s official residence, on Wednesday evening.
On Thursday, the king is scheduled to give a speech to the Bundestag, Germany’s parliament. He will also meet Chancellor Olaf Scholz, talk to Ukrainian refugees, and meet British and German military personnel who are working on joint projects. In the afternoon, he will visit an organic farm outside of Berlin.
About 1,500 spectators were admitted to the cordoned-off area around Berlin’s famed landmark on Wednesday to welcome the royals, German news agency dpa reported.
Charles, 74, who ascended the throne after the death of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, in September, is set to be crowned on May 6. He had initially planned to first visit France, but the first leg of his trip was cancelled due to massive protests over planned pension changes there.
The visit to European Union powerhouses France and Germany was designed to underscore British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s efforts to rebuild relations with the bloc after the UK’s exit and underscore their shared history as they combat Russia’s military action in Ukraine.
Sunak hopes goodwill created by a royal visit can help pave the way for progress on other issues post-Brexit, including the UK’s return to an EU programme that funds scientific research across Europe.
In Germany, the king faces the first big test of whether he can win hearts and minds abroad, just as his mother did for seven decades, and become an effective conduit for the “soft power” the House of Windsor has traditionally wielded.
The visit will also be an opportunity to highlight the causes he holds dear, like sustainability and the environment.
The royal couple plan to go to Hamburg on Friday, where they will attend a green energy event and visit the Kindertransport memorial for Jewish children who fled from Germany to the UK during the Third Reich, before returning to the UK.