PARIS (CBSMiami) — Britain’s Prince William and his wife Kate are in Paris on the first official visit to the French capital since Princess Diana died there nearly 20 years ago.
The British royals began their two-day official visit to Paris at Elysee Palace.
Prince William and Kate met with French President Francois Hollande at a critical time as Britain prepares to break from the European Union.
“The depth of our friendship and the breadth of our cooperation will not change,” stated Prince William.
Royal correspondent Roya Nikkhah says the Paris visit is a charm offensive.
“There’s no doubt that’s why these two young members of the royal family are being sent here to meet with the President, to go out and make nice with people and also to be seen on the international stage. It’s very important for the UK right now,” according to Nikkhah.
But while the visit may be about Britain’s future, the City of Light will forever hold a darkened past for Prince William.
His mother died twenty years ago this August.
Princess Diana and companion Dodi Fayed had been dining at the Ritz, and when it came time to leave, they made a fatal mistake.
That night, the area in front of the Ritz was packed with paparazzi so they tried to slip out the back, but the paparazzi was waiting there too. Driver Henri Paul, under the influence of alcohol and prescription drugs, sped off in a bid to outrun them. He lost control and slammed into a pillar.
Fayed and Paul died at the scene. Diana later suffered a cardiac arrest at the hospital. William was only 15 at the time.
He and Kate will not visit the tunnel where Diana died. There is a memorial above the crash site where people still stop to lay flowers and photos.
Saturday, Prince William and Kate will visit a military hospital where they’ll meet victims of the Paris and Nice terror attacks. They’re also attending a France-Wales rugby match Saturday.