The King’s historic state visit to Germany began with a formal welcome by the nation’s president in the shadow of the Brandenburg Gate.
Charles and Camilla posed near the symbol of peace and unity as a handshake between the two heads of state heralded a deepening of the post-Brexit relationship between the UK and one of the EU’s leading nations.
In a lighter moment the King, whose coronation ceremony will be held in just over five weeks, politely turned down the gift of a paper crown when the monarch and his wife went on a walkabout.
The use of Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate as the backdrop for Charles and Camilla’s official welcome to Germany was the first time the location has been employed to welcome any visiting head of state.
In a message posted on social media as the first state visit of the King’s reign began, Charles and Camilla said: “Ahead of our first state visit to Germany, we are 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.”
The trip has been overshadowed by the postponement of the French leg of the European tour, which was shelved by President Emmanuel Macron last Friday after violent nationwide protests against the French leader’s retirement age reforms.
The decision was made amid reports the King may have been targeted during further demonstrations planned by protesters to coincide with the visit.
Germany’s president Frank-Walter Steinmeier and wife Elke Budenbender warmly greeted the King and Queen Consort and the four posed in front of the gate for the waiting photographers before the national anthems of Germany and the UK were played.
The King inspected a guard of honour, accompanied by the president, then Charles, Camilla, the German statesman and his wife went on a brief walkabout in Pariser Platz meeting people waiting behind nearby crash barriers.
One man took off a paper crown and offered it to the King with a smile and the words “This is for you, if you want it.”
Charles shook his head and said “I’m alright”, and also turned down another crown from a woman who said “I have a present for you.”
Around 1,500 well-wishers, including pupils from local schools, members of the Royal British Legion, and British embassy staff and families, lined crash barriers in the platz to welcome the royal guests.
Some of the crowds were carrying home-made welcome banners or flowers for the royals, while several ladies were wearing garden party-style hats.
The King shook outstretched hands and when he met a student who said he had recently been to London, Charles said: “Oh marvellous. You found your way around? Oh, you went to Buckingham Palace!”
Another woman shouted: “Welcome to Germany Your Majesty” and the King beamed broadly.
Schoolgirl Hadley Drake, eight, got away with telling the King firmly to “wait” while she took a picture of him on her brightly coloured toy camera.
The British youngster, who was being carried by her father at the front of the crowd, told the monarch that she wanted to get a better shot of him.