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Royals ramp up European trips starting with Six Nations game in Paris

Pictured during a Rugby World Cup match in 2015 Credit: PA

William and Kate are to attend the Six Nations Rugby match between Wales and France at the end of their short tour to Paris next week.

The royal couple are embarking on a two day visit across the English Channel as the government deploys them as diplomatic “soft power” at about the same time as Theresa May triggers the UK’s divorce from the EU.

Kensington Palace has issued more details of the Duke and Duchess’ trip.

The Cambridges also plan to meet those involved in the terrorist attacks at the Bataclan Theatre in Paris as well as the lorry attack in Nice on Bastille Day last year.

They will also be the guests of honour at a reception at the British Embassy called “les Voisins” (“cousins” in English) which celebrates the cultural ties between the UK and France.

It’s all happening at a very sensitive time on the political stage.

The Prime Minister will formally trigger Article 50 around that time – which will set in motion the two-year negotiation process with Brussels.

Tributes left outside the Bataclan Theatre in Paris Credit: AP

As William and Kate tour the French capital, they’re likely to be introduced to senior French politicians who will influence the EU-UK divorce settlement.

Overseas tours by the royal family are always carried out in collaboration with the Foreign Office and they often reflect government priorities.

That kind of mission comes into sharp focus on this trip as it is so close to the start of the Brexit process.

William and Kate will also make a trip to Germany and Poland in July – both major players in the EU.

A diplomatic source says the royals will be used to “lean into Europe” and help to make the government’s case (as expressed by Mrs May) that Britain is leaving the EU but it’s not leaving Europe.

Another senior member of the Royal Family is also due to announce travel plans to some EU countries within the next few days.