French President Emmanuel Macron on Thursday congratulated Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II on her platinum jubilee, calling her “the golden thread that binds our two countries” going back to World War II.
“During the past seventy years, the President of the French Republic has relied on very few constants… your devotion to our alliance and to our friendship has remained,” Macron said in English in a video message to the queen.
He recalled “the dark days when your family welcomed General de Gaulle in your home” during World War II, when the leader of the Free French and later founding president of France’s Fifth Republic took refuge in London from the Nazi German occupation.
Since then, in “a lifetime of devotion to our alliance”, the queen had “shared our joys, and seen the deep affection and admiration that the people of France have for you,” Macron said.
Switching to French — in which the queen is fluent — the recently re-elected leader told the monarch that “celebrating you today is celebrating the sincere and deep friendship which unites our two countries”.
While Britain and France are close allies, ties have been strained since the UK’s departure from the European Union in 2020.
The two governments have been at odds over issues like London’s post-Brexit trading relationship with its neighbours and regular attempts by migrants to cross from France to the UK in small boats.
Most recently, there has been anger in Britain at the treatment of Liverpool football fans at Saturday’s Champions League final in Paris, with French ministers blaming unruly supporters for chaos that saw some of them tear-gassed by police.