King Charles and his wife Camilla were welcomed by enthusiastic crowds, raising the German and British flags, during their state visit to Germany. Newspapers such as “Berlin Zeitung” and “Süddeutsche Zeitung” published useful information about the royal protocol in case readers met the king and queen. The tips included how to deal correctly, and how to pronounce the word “Ma’am” correctly. But what do Germans love so much about the British royal family?
Speaking to state broadcaster Gerhard Dannemann, professor of British studies, the admiration of the German public for the British monarchy has some very attractive merits. He explained, “In Germany, there is all the splendor, charm and celebrity status of the royal family,” adding, “regardless of politics or expenses.”
The German roots of the Windsor royal family also play a role in its popularity in a country where the Kaiser, the grandson of Queen Victoria, abdicated more than a century ago after his defeat in World War I.
The British royal family was previously known by a different name, due to Victoria’s German husband Albert, but their name was changed during World War I due to anti-German sentiment. The fact that the king, who speaks German, is proud of his roots and takes the time to meet and dine with his German cousins, is sure to be appreciated in a country he has visited some 60 times.
The king’s cousin, Prince Edward von Anhalt, said Charles III “never denied his German origins,” adding, “even if he was not very popular with many Englishmen,” but it was his mother, the late Queen Elizabeth, who should take most of the credit. In the warm welcome of Charles and the enduring affection of Germany’s royal family.
Elizabeth II was held in such high esteem that the Germans called her “Queen”, using the English term instead of “Königgen”, the German word for queen.
The city’s mayor, Peter Schentscher, said her death “caused even greater grief and sympathy in Hamburg,” as he hailed the state visit as “a strong political sign of the relationship between Germany and Great Britain.”
The late queen described her 11-day state visit to Germany in 1965 – which was still divided between West and East – as a “very moving experience”. She was accompanied on a tour of West Berlin by the then mayor Willy Brandt, who later became chancellor.
The visit is widely seen as a sign of post-war reconciliation with Germany, 20 years after World War Two.