Ursula von der Leyen to meet King Charles as Brexit deal nears
Buckingham Palace confirms European Commission president to meet British monarch.
LONDON — European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen will meet King Charles III Monday as the U.K. and EU enter the last leg of talks on post-Brexit trading rules for Northern Ireland.
It was reported this weekend that von der Leyen — who will take part in what No. 10 Downing Street is calling "final" talks with U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on a deal before a planned joint press conference Monday afternoon — will also visit the British monarch during a trip to Windsor.
Confirming the meeting, a spokesperson for Buckingham Palace said: "The King is pleased to meet any world leader if they are visiting Britain and it is the government’s advice that he should do so."
The BBC and the Daily Mail both reported that the pair, who have met before, will discuss climate change and the war in Ukraine.
While Britain’s head of state is traditionally expected to stay above the fray when it comes to political matters, reports that No.10 had recommended a meeting so close to an agreement on the Northern Ireland protocol has angered some politicians in Sunak’s own party.
"I think the sovereign should only be involved when things have been completed and accepted," Jacob Rees-Mogg, a former Cabinet minister, told broadcaster GB News on Monday morning.
He added: "The king gives assent to acts of parliament when parliament has agreed, he doesn’t express his view on acts of parliament when they are going through the process. I think the same applies, that his majesty should not be involved until there is full support for this agreement."
Nigel Farage, the former Brexit Party leader, tweeted that it was “absolutely disgraceful” of Sunak to “even ask the king to get involved in something that is overtly political in every way.”