No red carpet: French unrest impacts King Charles III’s trip

No red carpet: French unrest impacts King Charles III’s trip

PARIS (AP) — Unrest in France is tarnishing the sheen of King Charles III’s first overseas trip as monarch, with…

PARIS (AP) — Unrest in France is tarnishing the sheen of King Charles III’s first overseas trip as monarch, with striking workers literally refusing to roll out a red carpet amid pension reform protests and calls for the visit to be canceled altogether.

The British king is scheduled to undertake the trip beginning Sunday on behalf of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s government, which hoped a glamorous royal tour would underscore efforts to rebuild Anglo-French ties that were frayed by the U.K.’s decision to leave the European Union.

But anger over French President Emmanuel Macron’s resolve to increase the retirement age by two years are clouding what was meant to be a show of bonhomie and friendship. Instead, Charles’ visit is being seen as an unnecessary display of hereditary privilege.

“It’s very bad timing. Normally the French would welcome a British king. But in this moment, people protesting are on high alert for any sign of privilege and wealth,” Paris-based writer Stephen Clarke, the author of “Elizabeth II, Queen of Laughs,” said.

With piles of uncollected garbage lining the French capital’s once-pristine boulevards, observers say the optics could not be worse – for both Charles and his host Macron.

French labor union CGT announced this week that its members at Mobilier National, the institution in charge of providing red carpets, flags and furniture for public buildings, would snub a Sunday reception for the king upon his arrival in Paris.

“We ask our administration to inform the services concerned that we will not provide furnishings, red carpets or flags,” a CGT statement read.

The Elysee Palace, the French president’s official residence, said that instead non-striking workers would set up the necessary accouterments for the trip.

Months in the making, Charles’ March 26-29 posh itinerary with Queen Consort Camilla includes a visit to the Musee d’Orsay, a wreath-laying ceremony at the Arc de Triomphe and a lavish dinner at the former royal residence, the Versailles Palace.

“They’re planning on going to Versailles. It does not look good. This seems very 1789,” author Clarke said. The lavish Versailles, once the dazzling center of royal Europe and a focal point of the French Revolution, is an enduring symbol of social inequalities and excess.

Macron is facing a public backlash for pushing through a bill raising the retirement age to 64 without a parliamentary vote. Some opponents accuse the president of being out-of-touch, and Charles has not been spared from similar criticism as protests continued this week.

“Unbelievable! We are going to have Emmanuel Macron, the Republican monarch, welcoming King Charles III in Versailles… while the people in the street are demonstrating,” Sandrine Rousseau, a lawmaker from France’s Green Party, told French channel BFM TV. “Of course” the king should cancel his visit, she added.

To limit the potential for disruptions to the royal dinner, security is expected to be very tight around Versailles. In 2020, demonstrators clashed with police on its regal cobblestones amid a previous pension reform bill.

The unrest and demands for Charles stay away are certain to cause disquiet in London. When he was on a walkabout in York, England, in November, someone in a crowd of angry protesters threw eggs in his direction.

The French have maintained a love-hate relationship with kings ever since they guillotined King Louis XVI in 1793. Queens have typically fared better since then. Queen Elizabeth II, Charles’ mother, was a hugely popular figure in France, the European country she visited the most before her death last year.

Elizabeth, who spoke fluent French, made five state visits to France, in 1957, 1972, 1992, 2004 and 2014, as well as unofficial and private visits. Her son now wears the crown but remains in her shadow.

“The problem with Charles is that he is not the queen. She was very loved here,” Paris resident Geraldine Duberret, 62, said. “Charles does not have such a good reputation here. He seems a bit spoiled.”

The celebrity press in France recently focused on unconfirmed rumors that the king would travel with excessive numbers of servants, comparing him to his late mother, who famously insisted her staff turn light bulbs off in Buckingham Palace to save on electricity.

“This visit was a chance for Charles to relaunch himself in the eyes of the French,” Clarke said. “It could have been like a blank canvas, but he will likely not be able to have the impact he would have wished.”

Charles does command some respect in France for his environmental activism. The king and queen consort plan to tour areas of France’s Bordeaux region that last year were ravaged by wildfires widely blamed on global warming.

The couple’s time in southwest France also gives them a chance to see vineyards and to taste the region’s famous wines, including a planned stop at Bordeaux’s Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte, a vineyard and winemaker.

Regional officials are effusive about receiving the British royals, a stark contrast to the reception Charles and Camilla could prepare for in Paris.

“It’s very touching that Charles plans to come to Bordeaux. We have a very strong relationship – and historic — with the U.K. The region stayed English for three centuries. It’s in our DNA,” said Cecile Ha of the Bordeaux Wine Council.

Ha said winemakers in Bordeaux were “on the same page” as King Charles.

“In Paris, they do politics. But, here in Bordeaux, we like Charles because we share the same strong commitments to sustainability.”


Danica Kirka in London contributed to this report.


Follow AP’s coverage of the French government at and of King Charles III at

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‘Gilded Age’ star Patrick Page finds ‘Succession’ parallels in Shakespeare Theatre’s ‘King Lear’

‘Gilded Age’ star Patrick Page finds ‘Succession’ parallels in Shakespeare Theatre’s ‘King Lear’

If you dig family dynasty dramas, Patrick Page stars in “King Lear” at Shakespeare Theatre in D.C. through April 16.

WTOP’s Jason Fraley previews ‘King Lear’ at Shakespeare Theatre (Part 1)

The fourth and final season of the Emmy-winning drama “Succession” premieres this weekend on HBO.

If you dig family dynasty dramas, Patrick Page stars in “King Lear” at Shakespeare Theatre in D.C. through April 16.

“If you picture Stonehenge, you won’t be picturing our production,” Page told WTOP. “This is a production that is set very much in our modern moment. If you watch ‘Succession’ on HBO, imagine it looking like that. If you’re thinking of a lumbering, slow, four-hour, boring production of Shakespeare, put that out of your mind! This is a propulsive, filmic thriller that’s under 2 1/2 hours that goes by like that! People think it’s over before it’s begun.”

Shakespeare’s timeless tragedy follows King Lear, who divides his kingdom among his daughters, Cordelia, Goneril and Regan, while trusty adviser Gloucester favors his illegitimate son Edmund over his natural-born son Edgar.

“The basic plot is almost out of a fairy tale,” Page said. “There’s a king who needs to retire. He’s going to hand the running of the state over to his three children. He doesn’t have a son, so he’s going to split it up between his three daughters and their husbands. … The daughters have to say which one loves him the most. He thinks his youngest daughter will win this contest easily, but she refuses to play, refuses to flatter him, so he flies off the handle.”

This jockeying for power is extra poignant being performed in the nation’s capital.

“This is a play about power structures, about government,” Page said. “The arguments that we’re having every day in the newspapers, on Twitter, on social media, how much should government do, how little should government do, these are the questions that Shakespeare is raising in ‘King Lear.’ To do this in front of an audience filled with Congress people, senators, Supreme Court judges and lobbyists, it was just an opportunity I couldn’t pass up.”

It marks Page’s return to Shakespeare Theatre after his one-man show “All the Devils Are Here: How Shakespeare Invented the Villain” in 2021. Playbill dubbed him “The Villain of Broadway,” having played villains in “Saint Joan,” “Casa Valentina,” “Cyrano de Bergerac,” “Spider-Man” and even a Tony nomination as Hades in “Hadestown.”

“The role of Hades was a wonderful role,” Page said. “In characters, I look for the place where the character is broken, I look for the hurt place, and in Hades, it’s in his relationship with his wife. He loves Persephone so dearly and this chasm has begun to open up between them and he’ll really do anything to get her back.”

He also just filmed the second seasons of HBO’s “The Gilded Age” and Apple’s “Schmigadoon!”

“‘The Gilded Age’ is now in post-production and it will air sometime later this year, we shot the whole second season and I can’t tell you much about it other than it is great,” Page said. “In ‘Schmigadoon,’ my character is Octavious Kratt. The town they find this year is not Schmigadoon, it’s the town of Schmicago and Octavious Kratt is a very important man in the town. I think you will laugh your head off.”

Until then, check out “King Lear,” which he calls the role of a lifetime.

“‘Lear’ has been a central play in my life,” Page said. “It was when I really understood the greatness of Shakespeare in a visceral way, reading the play, seeing the questions of the play: how we relate to one another, how should we organize ourselves, what kind of government should we have, who should be in charge and finally who are we? … I remember thinking, ‘This is the most extraordinary play imaginable and I could spend my life exploring it.’”

Find more information here.

WTOP’s Jason Fraley previews ‘King Lear’ at Shakespeare Theatre (Part 2)

Listen to our full conversation here.

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Lance Reddick's eight best movies and shows to stream

Lance Reddick's eight best movies and shows to stream

Lance Reddick, a calm and collected yet imposing presence in a variety of film and TV roles, died Friday at age 60.

The prolific actor was versed in playing intense authority figures, including his breakout role as Lt. Cedric Daniels in “The Wire,” Homeland Security Special Agent Phillip Broyles in “Fringe,” hotel concierge Charon in the “John Wick” franchise and mysterious agent Matthew Abaddon, who got people to “where they needed to be,” in “Lost.”

He also lent his unmistakable voice to video games (most notably as Cmdr. Zavala in Bungie’s “Destiny” and “Destiny 2”) and animated series (“The Legend of Vox Machina,” “Paradise PD” and “The Vindicators”).

Below is a selection of roles that show Reddick at his best, along with where to view them.

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Reddick had a memorable arc in Season 4 of the gritty HBO prison drama as Johnny Basil, an undercover cop who poses as an inmate to try to put the kibosh on the drug trade inside Oswald State Correctional Facility.

Streaming: HBO Max | YouTube: Buy | Hulu (premium): Included | Prime Video: Buy | Apple TV: Included | Google Play: Buy | Vudu: Buy

The gritty HBO crime drama’s top-notch ensemble cast included Reddick as no-nonsense Baltimore Police Department Lt. Cedric Daniels.

Streaming: HBO Max: Included |Hulu (premium): Included | YouTube TV (premium): Included | Prime Video: Buy | Apple TV: Rent | Vudu: Buy |

‘John Wick’ Chapters 1-4 (2014, 2017, 2019, 2023)

Reddick had a recurring role in the Keanu Reeves action franchise — including the next installment, coming to theaters on March 24 — as Charon, the mysterious and mythology-inspired concierge at the Continental, a luxury hotel where underworld types can find respite and sanctuary.

Streaming: Peacock: Included |Hulu (premium): Included |YouTube: Buy/rent |Google Play: Buy/rent |Redbox: Buy/rent |fuboTV: Included |Vudo: Buy/rent |Apple TV: Buy/rent |Prime Video: Buy/rent |

Steaming:Peacock: Included |Hulu (premium): Included |YouTube: Buy/rent |Google Play: Buy/rent |Redbox: Buy/rent |fuboTV: Included |Vudo: Buy/rent |Apple TV: Buy/rent |Prime Video: Buy/rent

‘John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum’

Streaming: Peacock: Included |Hulu (premium): Included | YouTube: Buy/rent |Google Play: Buy/rent |Redbox: Buy/rent |fuboTV: Included |Vudo: Buy/rent |

Apple TV: Buy/rent |Prime Video: Buy/rent

Reddick portrayed Homeland Security Special Agent Phillip Broyles, the unwavering head of the Fringe division, in this “X-Files”-like sci-fi mystery drama that also starred Anna Torv, Joshua Jackson and John Noble.

Streaming: HBO Max: Included |Prime Video: Buy |Amazon Freevee: Free (with ads) |YouTube: Buy |Apple TV: Included |Google Play: Buy |Vudu: Buy

Reddick continued his streak of playing authority figures as LAPD chief Irvin Irving in this procedural drama starring Titus Welliver as the titular detective and based on Michael Connelly’s crime novels.

Streaming: Prime Video: Included

Reddick also made an impression as Mr. Abaddon, just one of the many mysterious figures maneuvering in the background on the ABC sci-fi hit.

Streaming: Hulu (subscription): Included |Amazon Freevee: Free (with ads) |YouTube: Buy |Apple TV: Buy |Google Play: Buy |Vudu: Buy

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