Prince William and Kate, the Prince and Princess of Wales, are to play a central role during the first day of the state visit to the UK of South African President Cyril Ramaphosa. Mr Ramaphosa, who arrived privately at London Stansted Airport on Monday evening, will be greeted by the two senior royals on behalf of the King this morning, at the Corinthia Hotel.
The Prince and Princess will then accompany the President to Horse Guards Parade for the Ceremonial Welcome set up for the guest of honour.
At the Royal Pavillion on Horse Guards Parade, Mr Ramaphosa will be formally welcomed by King Charles and Queen Camilla.
After receiving the royal salute and listening to the South African anthem, the sovereign and Mr Ramaphosa will inspect the Guard of Honour together.
Among the many royal firsts to be witnessed over the next two days, people lined up along the Mall will be treated to Charles, Camilla, Kate and William’s first carriage procession in their new roles.
The procession will go from Horse Guards Parade to Buckingham Palace – the same route that had been followed in June after the Trooping the Colour parade, the opening event of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations attended at the time by Charles, Camilla, William and Kate as the Prince of Wales, the Duchess of Cornwall and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
At the end of this procession, Mr Ramaphosa and the royals will be met by a second Guard of Honour at the royal residence.
Following a private lunch at the Palace, His Majesty will guide Mr Ramaphosa through an exhibition in the Picture Gallery focused on items from the Royal Collection relating to South Africa.
During the afternoon, the politician will visit Westminster Abbey – where he will lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior and view a memorial stone for former South African President and anti-apartheid hero Nelson Mandela.
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Fans of tiaras are anticipating this evening’s state banquet, which will take place after Mr Ramaphosa addresses Parliament from the Royal Gallery at the Palace of Westminster.
King Charles’s first state banquet will take place at Buckingham Palace and will see Camilla and Kate don tiaras for the first time since receiving their new titles of Queen Consort and Princess of Wales respectively.
The significance of this two-day state visit had been previously hailed by South Africa’s High Commissioner, Jeremiah Nyamane Mamabolo, who highlighted how the first president to be hosted by the new sovereign is the leader of a Commonwealth nation.
After meeting Charles at the Victoria & Albert Museum as they were visiting an exhibition focused on African fashion, Mr Mamabolo said: “The important thing is that the King has focused for his first visit, to be with Africa, South Africa, and the Commonwealth.”
Following the death of Elizabeth II, Charles also became the Head of the Commonwealth and, with this title, inherited the duty of leading the 54-strong group.
Britain’s Prime Minister Rishi Sunak also hailed the state visit, which coincides with the launch of the next phase of the UK-South Africa Infrastructure Partnership – a project supporting South Africa’s economic growth through infrastructure developments and offering increased access to British companies to projects worth up to £5.37billion over the next three years.
The Prime Minister said: “South Africa is already the UK’s biggest trading partner on the continent, and we have ambitious plans to turbocharge infrastructure investment and economic growth together.
“I look forward to welcoming President Ramaphosa to London this week to discuss how we can deepen the partnership between our two great nations and capitalise on shared opportunities, from trade and tourism and security and defence.”