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Germany is rediscovering Britain’s “loveable side”

Angela Merkel with King Charles last night in Berlin. Andreas Rentz/Getty

When Charles III last visited the German Bundestag in 2020, says Alexander Mühlauer in the Süddeutsche Zeitung, it was “another era”. He was still a prince, Covid was raging through Europe, and the Brexit drama “weighed on British-German relations”. How things have changed. The King’s trip this week, before his coronation, is a “special sign of friendship” between our countries – one that must be “appreciated and nurtured”. For many of us, the visit of not just a King, but one who speaks “beautiful German”, provokes a “curious longing for monarchy”. Ever since the Queen’s death, there’s been a renewed respect for “royal soft power”. The impressive processions in Westminster, the sea of flowers in Windsor and the miles-long queue for the lying-in-state helped Germans see Britain’s “loveable side”.

In the years after the Brexit vote, most of us looked at the chaos taking place in the UK with a “mixture of incomprehension and schadenfreude”. But with King Charles and Rishi Sunak comes “hope for a new beginning”. Berlin has much more in common with London than with Paris – evident now both we and British look at the pension reform riots in France “with some astonishment”. And a “strong and cosmopolitan Great Britain” is in Germany’s interest: Nato is dependent on British intelligence, and Kyiv on British arms. As Charles put it during his last visit to Germany: “Together we are an indispensable force for good in the world.”