Britain, Germany to stay close, Prince William says on pre-Brexit charm tour

BERLIN (Reuters) - Britain and Germany will remain close even after Brexit, Prince William said on Wednesday during a tour meant to shore up relations with EU countries before Britain leaves the bloc.


With the British government struggling to show unity as negotiations on leaving the European Union began in earnest this week, William and his wife Kate were in Berlin on what Deutschlandfunk radio called a "charm offensive in times of Brexit".


"This relationship between the United Kingdom and Germany really matters," William said at an evening garden party.


"It will continue despite Britain’s recent decision to leave the European Union and I’m confident we shall remain the firmest of friends.”


Earlier, William, second in line to the British throne, and Kate walked through Berlin's Brandenburg Gate and shook hands with locals who cheered, took photographs and waved the British flag. They lunched with Chancellor Angela Merkel at her offices.

While the couple and their children - Prince George, who turns four this month, and two-year-old Princess Charlotte - have delighted the crowds in Germany and Poland where they began the two-country tour, one newspaper said they could do little to ease the pain of the divorce with the EU.

"William and Kate supposed to smile Brexit away in Germany," ran the headline in regional newspaper Rheinische Post.

As well as meeting German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, the couple visited a charity in eastern Berlin that works with disadvantaged children. They also met survivors of the Holocaust and toured Berlin's Holocaust Memorial.

(Reporting by Michelle Martin and Reuters TV; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)

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