Editorials | The Guardian: The Observer view on the protests in France against Macron’s pension plans | Observer editorial

The anger on the streets sparked by raising the retirement age to 64 is the latest manifestation of dissatisfaction with the presidency

France’s relationship with monarchy has rarely run smooth. The guillotining of Louis XVI and his queen, Marie Antoinette, in 1793 was an early attempt at levelling up. Emperors, more kings and assorted republics followed. In 1962, Charles de Gaulle created an elected presidency with regal powers. To his many critics, Emmanuel Macron, the incumbent, behaves like a latterday Sun King – le Roi Soleil – in the style of Louis XIV.

It may have been the prospect of Macron hosting a sumptuous banquet for King Charles at the Sun King’s Palace of Versailles this week that finally prompted France’s embarrassing, last-minute decision to postpone the British monarch’s state visit. After weeks of furious, nationwide protests against Macron’s drive to raise the state pension age to save money, the optics would have been truly terrible. Yet still today’s sans-culottes cry: “Off with his head!”

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