King Charles Receives Standing Ovation After Historic Speech at German Parliament

King Charles and Queen Camilla are currently in Germany for the second day of the first overseas tour of their royal reign

King Charles III addresses the Bundestag, the German federal parliament, Berlin, as part of the state visit to Germany
Photo: Ben Birchall/PA Images via Getty Images

King Charles earned applause for a royal first as his trip to Germany continued on Thursday.

The King, 74, became the first British monarch to directly address the Bundestag while the German Parliament was in session. Giving the speech in both German and English, the King pointed to the bond between Germany and the U.K. and voiced hope for a bright, shared future.

Noting that the relationship "meant so much to my beloved mother" Queen Elizabeth, King Charles praised Germany's staunch support for Ukraine amid the ongoing war with Russia and reaffirmed the United Kingdom's commitment to the cause as well.

"Countless lives have been destroyed. Freedom and human dignity were brutally trampled on. The security of Europe is under threat, as are our democratic values. But the world has not stood idly by. We are shocked by the terrible destruction. But we can draw from our unity — in defense of Ukraine, peace and freedom," he said in German. "Germany and the U.K. have taken important leadership roles. As the largest European donor to Ukraine, we have reacted decisively and taken decisions that might previously have been unimaginable. Germany's decision to provide Ukraine with such great military support is extremely courageous, important and welcome."

King Charles III speaks on stage as Camilla, Queen Consort and members of parliament look on at the German Bundestag
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"Ladies and Gentlemen, I can hardly begin to express the pride I feel in the strength of the partnership between our two countries. Germany, her people and distinctive culture have made such a profound impact on me over so many of my previous visits. Since I first came to Germany when I was just 13 years old, I have grown to become familiar with the different corners of this remarkable land," he continued in English. "Like many British people, I have close personal ties here — in my case, cherished family relationships and associations that go back generations. For all of us, however, there are countless points of connection and common experience in the British-German story, which has unfolded over nearly two millennia."

Pointing out that tourism between the two nations is vibrant, Charles injected a bit of humor with a joke about pop culture.

"So we are still admiring of each other's culture; dependent upon each other's economies; and inspired by each other's ideas. More recent generations may think as readily of The Beatles or Kraftwerk, as they do of Brahms or Byron, but the web of cultural connections is as strong as ever," he said.

Drawing further parallels between the countries, from gender equity advocacy from the women's national soccer teams to exciting scientific innovations in hydrogen, the King said that Germany and the U.K. "can offer a compelling example to the world."

"Faced with so many shared challenges, the United Kingdom and Germany are together providing leadership to secure our shared future," he said.

As seen in a video shared to Twitter by CNN's Max Foster, King Charles received a standing ovation for the remarks.

President of Germany Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Camilla, Queen Consort and King Charles III are seen at the German Bundestag
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Queen Camilla accompanied her husband to the Bundestag for the speech, as their three-day royal tour of Germany, the first overseas visit of the new reign, continues. The royals were guests of honor at a glamorous state banquet at Schloss Bellevue last night, and kicked off Thursday with a busy start.

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King Charles III (C), German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier (L) and German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser (R) visit the Ukraine Arrival Centre Tegel for Ukrainian refugees in Berlin

Charles first met with Chancellor Scholz at the Federal Chancellery building; from there, he and the Queen Consort, 75, stopped at Wittenbergplaztz Food Market to meet local business owners. The King also learned more about the Johanniter first aid organization's work with refugees and met with Ukrainian refugee families.

Camilla, Queen Consort and First Lady Elke Büdenbender visit Refugio Berlin and speak with Diana Strassheim and Baby Kuno on March 30, 2023 in Berlin, Germany
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Queen Camilla moved to the Refugio House community center, a bustling hub offering a wide variety of services for locals and refugees, before reuniting with her husband for his speech at Parliament. After the address, King Charles stepped out solo at the Tegel Refugee Center for a tour of the Ukraine Arrivals Center, while Queen Camilla stopped by the Komishe Oper with Frau Elke Budenbender to learn more about the opera company's outreach projects and community engagement.

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