As previously announced, The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh will be embarking on a State Visit to Germany from Tuesday 23rd June to Friday 26th June and further details surrounding this visit have recently been released. Her Majesty and Prince Philip will be visiting Germany at the invitation of the President of the Federal Republic of Germany, Joachim Gauck.
Berlin Tegel Airport will welcome The Queen and Prince Philip in quite spectacular fashion as they are received with an honour guard and a 21 gun salute though official engagements don’t begin until the following day. On Wednesday 24th June, Her Majesty and His Royal Highness will once again be ceremonially welcomed with military honours at Bellevue Palace, the official residence of President Gauck.
Bellevue Palace has only been the official residence of the German President since 1994. The Palace has previously been used as a museum and a Nazi guest house. During the Second World War, the palace suffered severe damage owing to strategic bombing though and was substantially renovated during the 1950s.
Following their ceremonial welcome in Berlin, The Queen and Prince Philip will make their way along the River Spree, by boat, to the Chancellery where Her Majesty will meet with Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Angela Merkel is the first female Chancellor of Germany having defeated Chancellor Gerhard Schroder in the 2005 election. Following her brief meeting with The Queen, Merkel will accompany Her Majesty to a wreath laying ceremony at Germany’s Central Memorial for all the victims of war and dictatorship.
The Queen and Prince Philip’s first day in Germany will be rounded off by their attendance at Berlin’s University of Technology. There, they will mark the 50th anniversary of the Queen’s Lecture before finally returning to Bellevue Palace to attend a State Banquet hosted by President Gauck.
For anyone who thought the first day of their State Visit was busy, The Queen and Prince Philip’s second day on the continent will be even more hectic. The day will begin with the royal couple travelling when they travel with President Gauck to Frankfurt where they will visit St Paul’s Church. Her Majesty and Prince Philip will meet with representatives of the local community, who will tell them how St Paul’s became a symbol of Germany’s parliamentary democracy.
Though it is no longer used as a church, St Paul’s has become a venue for various displays and events and is still considered an important political symbolism for the people of Germany. Following their departure from St Paul’s, The Queen and Prince Philip will travel to the Romer, Frankfurt’s centuries old City Hall. They will attend a lunch hosted by the President of Hesse after which they will greet members of the public in Frankfurt’s central square.
As is custom for a State Visit, day two in Germany for Her Majesty and Prince Philip will be rounded off with a Garden Party hosted by the British Ambassador. The British Ambassador in Germany is working to strengthen the UK-Germany relationship focussing on a broad range of issues including the future of the European Union as well as climate change, foreign policy challenges and defence and police co-operation
The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh’s final day in Germany comes on Friday 26th June and that too is a jam packed day full of engagements. The first of these engagements will see the royal pair accompanied by the Mayor of Berlin to Pariser Platz. There they will greet members of the public who have flocked to catch a glimpse of The Queen and Philip. The Mayor will also accompany Her Majesty and The Duke to view the Brandenburg Gate.
Since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, the Brandenburg Gate has come to symbolise German unity and were one of the finest examples of German classicism. Built according to the plans of Carl Gotthard Langhans, the Brandenburg Gate is modelled on Athens Acropolis and since October 2002, the gate has been closed for traffic including buses and taxis.
On their final engagement, The Queen and Prince Philip will fly from Berlin to Celle Military Airport in Lower Saxony where they will visit the Bergen-Belsen Memorial site. Bergen-Belsen was a Nazi concentration camp between 1941 and 1945 and the site has been one of international remembrance since the Second World War ceased, remembrance for the 70,000 plus people who died there. In the present day, the Bergen-Belsen Memorial sees around 300,000 people visit each year and is also a place of historical research, learning and reflection. Since 2009, the memorial has received regular funding from the German Federal Government.
The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh will lay a wreath at the memorial’s inscription wall after which they will return to Celle Military Airport. After the wreath laying the local community will wish them farewell as they embark on their journey back to the United Kingdom.
The Queen has made many State Visits to Germany throughout her reign, the first being in May 1965 when she visited West Germany at the invitation of President Lubke. The Queen and Prince Philip’s most recent visit to Germany came in November 2004 when they visited Berlin, Potsdam and Dusseldorf at the invitation of President Kohler.