No room at the inn, French hotel tells British royals


Lille (France) (AFP)

A five-star hotel in the northern French city of Amiens said Tuesday it could not accommodate Britain's Prince William and his wife Kate in July for no other reason than that it is fully booked.

Olivier Walti, manager of the exclusive 12-bedroom Marotte hotel, said he wanted to be clear about the reason the royals were turned away. "We were asked what was available and we had to regret that we were full," he said.

William, the second-in-line to the throne, and Kate plan to travel to Amiens for the commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme on July 1.

"We were very honoured by this request," Walti told AFP, rejecting suggestions that the royals had been "refused".

He added that the French foreign ministry was well aware that the Marotte was unable to provide four rooms for the royals and their entourage.

All 12 of the hotel's rooms have been booked for "more than a year", Walti said.

The Battle of the Somme was one of the bloodiest in World War I, leaving more than one million dead, wounded or missing between July and November 1916.

Britain and France are co-organising observances of the anniversary with up to 25,000 people expected to attend.

Amiens, with a population of some 135,000, has a total of 800 hotel beds, Walti said.