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Royal Visit Paris: President Hollande's regal photo album

The Queen with President Hollande of France during her State Visit in June 2014
(photo @Elysee Twitter)

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge travel to Paris today for a two day stop that will start when they meet the President of France, Francois Hollande. This could well be the last chance President Hollande has to welcome royalty to the Elysee Palace as he leaves office in just a few weeks' time after five years in the post. And during his tenure, he has welcomed plenty of European royal visitors. As William and Kate prepare to become perhaps the final chapter in his regal photo album, here's a look back at the times Francois Hollande welcomed royalty to Paris.

Prince Albert of Monaco popped by for lunch just months after President Hollande had taken office in 2012. They posed for photos, had a good old chat inside a very golden room and then smiled for the cameras all over again. It was the start of a whole host of regal encounters for Francois Hollande...

The Queen made a State Visit to Paris in June 2014, the fifth of her reign. As is usual, the President of France met his guests at the Elysee Palace there they posed for photos before heading inside for meetings and gift giving.  Get used to these steps, you'll be seeing a lot of them. 

On the evening of June 6th 2014, the Queen was welcomed to the Elysee for a glittering State Dinner. These gala evenings in France are more low key but that was put firmly to one side as black tie became the order of the day and the Queen wore a tiara. This is easily the most royal moment of President Hollande's five years in office.

There was a second State Visit from royalty in 2014 for Francois Hollande when King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia of Sweden popped over to Paris for a couple of days of pomp, ceremony and discussions. Here come those steps again....

The low key dress code for Elysee State Banquets meant we didn't get a sparkling Silvia tiara moment at the State Dinner but the Queen of Sweden packed in as much bling as she could. In a rather classy nod to her hosts, Silvia wore the Cameo brooch and necklace which originated in France, quite  possibly with the Empress Josephine whose granddaughter would become Queen of Sweden. Add in the gold dress, gold shoes and the fact that the brooch was in her hair and Silvia made sure the evening went royally.

There was no such diadem dilemma for Mathilde of the Belgians when she made an introductory visit to Paris with her husband, Philippe, in February 2014. The introductory visits are just that - a formal and official hello at the start of the reign of a new monarch and they usually involve a welcome, a bit of a chat with the Head of State and politicians and then everyone home to check diaries and try and schedule in the whole state thing some other time. Philippe and Mathilde arrived on a wet day in February 2014 but it was all sunshine and smiles, not to mention a rather lovely pale pink tribute to Parisian fashion, as they did the grin for the cameras thing at the Elysee.  

There was another introductory visit later on in 2014 as Europe's monarchies saw a wave of new kings come to the throne in the wake of several unexpected abdications, none of them more of  a surprise than the decision that year by King Juan Carlos of Spain to step aside in favour of his son. King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia arrived in Paris on July 22nd 2014 for a chat and a cuppa. Things got slightly awkward as they arranged themselves on the steps but it all ended in some rather lovely photos to add to the President of France's already substantial album marked kings and queens.

Things went much more smoothly on the red carpet in June 2015 when Felipe and Letizia returned for a State Visit. The Parisian sunshine was beaming, the Elysee was sparkling and the King and Queen of Spain looked more than relaxed as they posed on those famous steps again.

The State Dinner, sans tiara, followed on the evening of June 2nd 2015 and while Letizia pulled out all the stops with a burgundy lace gown complete with thirties inspired hairstyle even if she did leave the sparkly slides and brooches at home.

Another State Visit saw Francois Hollande welcome King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands to Paris in March 2016. The Dutch royals were in Paris for two days but they were already old pals with the French President having met him at several events in the previous couple of years.

Maxima was another queen who wasn't going to let that no tiaras here, thanks, rule get in the way of her sparkling. We got another wow of a gold dress and some diamond clips in her hair as she outshone just about everyone at the State Dinner on March 10th 2016.

It's an impressive tally of European royals so far and one more regal event is promised as Francois Hollande meets the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on March 17th 2017. Royal Visit Paris will also bring to an end the regal photo album of this President of France.


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