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British royals William and Kate visit Paris as Brexit looms

Associated Press logo Associated Press 3/17/2017 By SYLVIE CORBET
French President Francois Hollande, center, waves as he welcomes Prince William with Kate, Duchess of Cambridge at the Elysee Palace in Paris, Friday March 17, 2017. Prince William and his wife Kate are coming to Paris to meet the French president as Britain gets ready to launch divorce proceedings from the European Union. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena) © The Associated Press French President Francois Hollande, center, waves as he welcomes Prince William with Kate, Duchess of Cambridge at the Elysee Palace in Paris, Friday March 17, 2017. Prince William and his wife Kate are coming to Paris to meet the French president as Britain gets ready to launch divorce proceedings from the European Union. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

PARIS (AP) — With Britain's departure from the European Union looming, Prince William and his wife, Kate, kicked off a two-day visit to Paris Friday by meeting French president Francois Hollande. The trip is William's first official visit to the city since his mother died there.

France's President Francois Hollande, right, poses with Britain's Prince William and his wife Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, prior to their meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris, Friday, March 17, 2017. Prince William and his wife Kate are coming to Paris to meet the French president as Britain gets ready to launch divorce proceedings from the European Union. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus, Pool) © The Associated Press France's President Francois Hollande, right, poses with Britain's Prince William and his wife Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, prior to their meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris, Friday, March 17, 2017. Prince William and his wife Kate are coming to Paris to meet the French president as Britain gets ready to launch divorce proceedings from the European Union. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus, Pool)

Hollande greeted the couple Friday afternoon in the courtyard of the Elysee Palace.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge leave the Elysee Palace after their meeting with France's President Francois Hollande, in Paris, Friday, March 17, 2017. Prince William and his wife Kate are coming to Paris to meet the French president as Britain gets ready to launch divorce proceedings from the European Union. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus, Pool) © The Associated Press The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge leave the Elysee Palace after their meeting with France's President Francois Hollande, in Paris, Friday, March 17, 2017. Prince William and his wife Kate are coming to Paris to meet the French president as Britain gets ready to launch divorce proceedings from the European Union. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus, Pool)

They discussed the French-British relationship in the context of Britain's forthcoming departure from the European Union. They also talked about the military operation against the Islamic State group in Syria, in which the two countries are allied, the French presidency said.

France's President Francois Hollande, right, talks with Britain's Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, prior to their meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris, Friday, March 17, 2017. Prince William and his wife Kate are coming to Paris to meet the French president as Britain gets ready to launch divorce proceedings from the European Union. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus, Pool) © The Associated Press France's President Francois Hollande, right, talks with Britain's Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, prior to their meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris, Friday, March 17, 2017. Prince William and his wife Kate are coming to Paris to meet the French president as Britain gets ready to launch divorce proceedings from the European Union. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus, Pool)

On Saturday, the couple was scheduled to meet with victims and first responders from the deadly 2015 attacks on the Bataclan concert hall and other Paris sites. They also plan to attend a France-Wales rugby match.

Britain's Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge meets families of soldiers at the St. Patrick's Day Parade at the Cavalry Barracks in Hounslow, London, Friday, March 17, 2017. Prince William and his wife Kate visited to present shamrocks to the Officers and Guardsmen of the 1st Battalion Irish Guards. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth) © The Associated Press Britain's Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge meets families of soldiers at the St. Patrick's Day Parade at the Cavalry Barracks in Hounslow, London, Friday, March 17, 2017. Prince William and his wife Kate visited to present shamrocks to the Officers and Guardsmen of the 1st Battalion Irish Guards. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

While the royal couple has visited France several times, it was William's first official visit to Paris since his mother, Princess Diana, was killed in a 1997 car accident.

Britain's Kate, The Duchess of Cambridge, smiles after she presenting a shamrock to Domnhall the Irish Wolfhound Mascot, at the St. Patrick's Day Parade at the Cavalry Barracks in Hounslow, London, Friday, March 17, 2017. Their Royal Highnesses visited to present shamrocks to the Officers and Guardsmen of the 1st Battalion Irish Guards. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth) © The Associated Press Britain's Kate, The Duchess of Cambridge, smiles after she presenting a shamrock to Domnhall the Irish Wolfhound Mascot, at the St. Patrick's Day Parade at the Cavalry Barracks in Hounslow, London, Friday, March 17, 2017. Their Royal Highnesses visited to present shamrocks to the Officers and Guardsmen of the 1st Battalion Irish Guards. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

The visit comes amid anxiety across Europe over Britain's departure from the European Union. By the end of the month, British Prime Minister Theresa May plans to trigger the two-year process that would take Britain out of the EU.

Britain's Kate, The Duchess of Cambridge, laughs as she presents shamrocks to with Britain's Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, Colonel of the Irish Guards at the St. Patrick's Day Parade at the Cavalry Barracks in Hounslow, London, Friday, March 17, 2017. Their Royal Highnesses visited to present shamrocks to the Officers and Guardsmen of the 1st Battalion Irish Guards. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth) © The Associated Press Britain's Kate, The Duchess of Cambridge, laughs as she presents shamrocks to with Britain's Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, Colonel of the Irish Guards at the St. Patrick's Day Parade at the Cavalry Barracks in Hounslow, London, Friday, March 17, 2017. Their Royal Highnesses visited to present shamrocks to the Officers and Guardsmen of the 1st Battalion Irish Guards. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

In a speech Friday at the British Embassy, Prince William said the "deep friendship between the United Kingdom and France, forged in sweat and blood, is one that will endure."

Britain's Kate, The Duchess of Cambridge, left, and Britain's Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, Colonel of the Irish Guards meet soldiers and their families at the St. Patrick's Day Parade at the Cavalry Barracks in Hounslow, London, Friday, March 17, 2017. Their Royal Highnesses visited to present shamrocks to the Officers and Guardsmen of the 1st Battalion Irish Guards. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth) © The Associated Press Britain's Kate, The Duchess of Cambridge, left, and Britain's Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, Colonel of the Irish Guards meet soldiers and their families at the St. Patrick's Day Parade at the Cavalry Barracks in Hounslow, London, Friday, March 17, 2017. Their Royal Highnesses visited to present shamrocks to the Officers and Guardsmen of the 1st Battalion Irish Guards. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

"This partnership will continue despite Britain's recent decision to leave the European Union," he said. "The depth of our friendship and the breadth of our cooperation will not change."

Britain's Kate,The Duchess of Cambridge meets families of soldiers at the St. Patrick's Day Parade at the Cavalry Barracks in Hounslow, London, Friday, March 17, 2017. Their Royal Highnesses visited to present shamrocks to the Officers and Guardsmen of the 1st Battalion Irish Guards. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth) © The Associated Press Britain's Kate,The Duchess of Cambridge meets families of soldiers at the St. Patrick's Day Parade at the Cavalry Barracks in Hounslow, London, Friday, March 17, 2017. Their Royal Highnesses visited to present shamrocks to the Officers and Guardsmen of the 1st Battalion Irish Guards. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

Before Kate and William headed to France on Friday, the royal couple met the families of soldiers at a St. Patrick's Day Parade at the Cavalry Barracks in Hounslow, London, and presented shamrocks to the 1st Battalion Irish Guards.

Britain's Kate,The Duchess of Cambridge, smiles as she presents shamrocks with Britain's Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, Colonel of the Irish Guards at the St. Patrick's Day Parade at the Cavalry Barracks in Hounslow, London, Friday, March 17, 2017. Their Royal Highnesses visited to present shamrocks to the Officers and Guardsmen of the 1st Battalion Irish Guards. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth) © The Associated Press Britain's Kate,The Duchess of Cambridge, smiles as she presents shamrocks with Britain's Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, Colonel of the Irish Guards at the St. Patrick's Day Parade at the Cavalry Barracks in Hounslow, London, Friday, March 17, 2017. Their Royal Highnesses visited to present shamrocks to the Officers and Guardsmen of the 1st Battalion Irish Guards. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

The visit doesn't include any official memorial events for Diana. Near the tunnel under the Alma bridge, where the car accident took place, tourists paid tribute to her, leaving flowers and photos.

Britain's Kate, The Duchess of Cambridge, laughs as she presents shamrocks with Britain's Prince William, Colonel of the Irish Guards, left, at the St. Patrick's Day Parade at the Cavalry Barracks in Hounslow, London, Friday, March 17, 2017. Prince William and his wife Kate visited to present shamrocks to the Officers and Guardsmen of the 1st Battalion Irish Guards. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth) © The Associated Press Britain's Kate, The Duchess of Cambridge, laughs as she presents shamrocks with Britain's Prince William, Colonel of the Irish Guards, left, at the St. Patrick's Day Parade at the Cavalry Barracks in Hounslow, London, Friday, March 17, 2017. Prince William and his wife Kate visited to present shamrocks to the Officers and Guardsmen of the 1st Battalion Irish Guards. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

Nicolas Herrera, 20, a Colombian studying in Paris, thinks Diana continues to be an object of affection for people around the world because she was "different."

Britain's Kate, The Duchess of Cambridge, smiles as she presents shamrocks at the St. Patrick's Day Parade at the Cavalry Barracks in Hounslow, London, Friday, March 17, 2017. Their Royal Highnesses visited to present shamrocks to the Officers and Guardsmen of the 1st Battalion Irish Guards. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth) © The Associated Press Britain's Kate, The Duchess of Cambridge, smiles as she presents shamrocks at the St. Patrick's Day Parade at the Cavalry Barracks in Hounslow, London, Friday, March 17, 2017. Their Royal Highnesses visited to present shamrocks to the Officers and Guardsmen of the 1st Battalion Irish Guards. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

"She was part of the royal family, part of people from the important world, but she was near the real people," Herrera said. "She was more close to poor people."

Britain's Kate, The Duchess of Cambridge, looks towards baskets of shamrocks before she presents them with Britain's Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, Colonel of the Irish Guards at the St. Patrick's Day Parade at the Cavalry Barracks in Hounslow, London, Friday, March 17, 2017. Prince William and his wife Kate visited to present shamrocks to the Officers and Guardsmen of the 1st Battalion Irish Guards. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth) © The Associated Press Britain's Kate, The Duchess of Cambridge, looks towards baskets of shamrocks before she presents them with Britain's Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, Colonel of the Irish Guards at the St. Patrick's Day Parade at the Cavalry Barracks in Hounslow, London, Friday, March 17, 2017. Prince William and his wife Kate visited to present shamrocks to the Officers and Guardsmen of the 1st Battalion Irish Guards. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

Nina Abboud, an American tourist from Missouri, said people still mention Diana as an example of leadership and generosity.

Britain's Kate, The Duchess of Cambridge and Britain's Prince William, The Duke of Cambridge, Colonel of the Irish Guards, stand on a dais before presenting shamrocks with at the St. Patrick's Day Parade at the Cavalry Barracks in Hounslow, London, Friday, March 17, 2017. Prince William and his wife Kate visited to present shamrocks to the Officers and Guardsmen of the 1st Battalion Irish Guards. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth) © The Associated Press Britain's Kate, The Duchess of Cambridge and Britain's Prince William, The Duke of Cambridge, Colonel of the Irish Guards, stand on a dais before presenting shamrocks with at the St. Patrick's Day Parade at the Cavalry Barracks in Hounslow, London, Friday, March 17, 2017. Prince William and his wife Kate visited to present shamrocks to the Officers and Guardsmen of the 1st Battalion Irish Guards. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

"So I think she definitely influenced and it was positive and has been for all these 20 years," Abboud said. "You've never heard more about her."

Britain's Kate, The Duchess of Cambridge and Britain's Prince William, The Duke of Cambridge, Colonel of the Irish Guards arrive at the St. Patrick's Day Parade at the Cavalry Barracks in Hounslow, London, Friday, March 17, 2017. Prince William and his wife Kate visited to present shamrocks to the Officers and Guardsmen of the 1st Battalion Irish Guards. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth) © The Associated Press Britain's Kate, The Duchess of Cambridge and Britain's Prince William, The Duke of Cambridge, Colonel of the Irish Guards arrive at the St. Patrick's Day Parade at the Cavalry Barracks in Hounslow, London, Friday, March 17, 2017. Prince William and his wife Kate visited to present shamrocks to the Officers and Guardsmen of the 1st Battalion Irish Guards. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

___

Britain's Kate,The Duchess of Cambridge, smiles as she presents shamrocks with Britain's Prince William, The Duke of Cambridge, Colonel of the Irish Guards at the St. Patrick's Day Parade at the Cavalry Barracks in Hounslow, London, Friday, March 17, 2017. Prince William and his wife Kate visited to present shamrocks to the Officers and Guardsmen of the 1st Battalion Irish Guards. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth) © The Associated Press Britain's Kate,The Duchess of Cambridge, smiles as she presents shamrocks with Britain's Prince William, The Duke of Cambridge, Colonel of the Irish Guards at the St. Patrick's Day Parade at the Cavalry Barracks in Hounslow, London, Friday, March 17, 2017. Prince William and his wife Kate visited to present shamrocks to the Officers and Guardsmen of the 1st Battalion Irish Guards. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

Milos Krivokapic contributed to the story.

Britain's Kate, The Duchess of Cambridge, smiles as she presents shamrocks with Britain's Prince William, The Duke of Cambridge, Colonel of the Irish Guards at the St. Patrick's Day Parade at the Cavalry Barracks in Hounslow, London, Friday, March 17, 2017. Prince William and his wife Kate visited to present shamrocks to the Officers and Guardsmen of the 1st Battalion Irish Guards. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

Britain's Kate, The Duchess of Cambridge, smiles as she presents shamrocks with Britain's Prince William, The Duke of Cambridge, Colonel of the Irish Guards at the St. Patrick's Day Parade at the Cavalry Barracks in Hounslow, London, Friday, March 17, 2017. Prince William and his wife Kate visited to present shamrocks to the Officers and Guardsmen of the 1st Battalion Irish Guards. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
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