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King Charles heads to Château Smith Haut Lafitte

The postponed state visit of King Charles III and Queen Camilla to France has finally gone ahead this week, with the royal couple heading to Pessac-Léognan today (22 September).

Image credit: Twitter user RoyalFamily

The trip was originally due to take place in March of this year, making it Charles’ first state visit as monarch. However, due to the violent protests over President Emmanuel Macron’s pension reforms, there were security concerns leading to the royal tour’s cancellation.

However, six months later, and after May’s coronation, the tour has finally gone ahead, with the crowds in Paris receiving the king well:

The delayed trip to Bordeaux is also expected to go ahead as it was planned to in March, with the royal couple visiting Mayor of Bordeaux Pierre Hurmic at the town hall which was set on fire during the protests. It is Charles’ first official visit to Bordeaux since 1977.

This afternoon he will then head into wine country. Pessac-Léognan Grand Cru Classé Château Smith Haut Lafitte was chosen as a good producer for the ecologically-minded monarch to visit due to its sustainability credentials – the estate is biodynamic and also acquired organic agriculture certification in 2019.

Château Smith Haut Lafitte was acquired by Mayor of Bordeaux Lodi Martin Duffour-Dubergier in 1842. In 1958 it was then bought by négociant firm Eschenauer.

In 1990, the property and its vines then came under the ownership of current custodians Daniel and Florence Cathiard. Several members of the Cathiard family are involved in the business, including their daughter Mathilde Thomas-Cathiard and her husband, Bertrand, who founded Caudalie, which manufactures beauty products from grape seeds and vine cuttings. The king is expected to meet with these various members of the Cathiard family today.

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