It should have begun at the weekend in France, but when it looked like the King was flying into a riot zone the initial stage of the visit had to be postponed.
The French protests were a reminder that even fairy-tale palaces have real-world political consequences, and it became impossible for President Macron to host King Charles at Versailles, with the prospect of angry protesters outside the gates.
A bouquet of tear gas and unemptied bins wasn't exactly the right atmosphere for the diplomatic courtship of a state visit.
So several days later than planned, a curtailed trip is getting under way again, with King Charles and the Queen Consort Camilla arriving in Berlin for a three-day visit.
But the underlying purpose remains the same. There is a symbolic importance attached to the first state visit of a new reign and this is about showing that Europe is the UK's diplomatic priority.
"There is an obvious rationale for the visit - to improve relations after Brexit," says Sir Vernon Bogdanor, leading constitutional expert and historian.