A version of this story appeared in the November 25 edition of CNN’s Royal News, a weekly dispatch bringing you the inside track on Britain’s royal family. Register here
Another week, another set of firsts for the new king. This time, Charles III hosted the first state visit of his reign and Welcome to South African President Cyril Ramaphosa for Britain.
It was a short two-day visit, but that didn’t stop the emperor from carrying out the stops on a diplomatic tour de force designed to strengthen ties between the two countries.
The visit was in the works before the death of Queen Elizabeth II and state visits typically stick to a time-honored schedule of events, yet King Charles managed to put his stamp on the occasion.
He started things off with a grand procession full of British pomp and pageantry. Charles was not alone as he warmly greeted Ramaphosa at the Royal Pavilion at Horse Guards Parade in central London. Also in attendance were the Queen Consort and the Prince and Princess of Wales – the couple were flown to Ramaphosa’s hotel to greet the head of state earlier in the day.
More than 1,000 soldiers and 200 horses took part in the ceremonial military display. The President of South Africa inspected a guard of honor and took the Royal Salute from No. 7 Company Coldstream Guards under the sweltering sun.
Lieutenant Colonel James Shaw, who oversees the major ceremonial events in his role as brigade major of the Household Division, said a “huge amount of work” had gone into preparations for Tuesday’s reception, before revealing that Those involved “were very proud to support such an important” national occasion.
“The State Visit is a historic first: our first State Visit for Their Majesties the King and President of South Africa, the first State Visit in London since 2019, the first Processional State Visit at Horse Guards since 2018, and almost the first UK According to the PA Media news agency, the military organizer included everyone in the parade.
After the official welcome, the party took a carriage ride to Buckingham Palace, where Ramaphosa was greeted with a second honor guard. A private lunch hosted by the King was followed by a tour of Royal Collection items themed around South Africa, before an elaborate white-tie State Banquet in the evening.
Traditionally held on the first night of a state visit, Buckingham Palace banquets are held in the Ballroom, with approximately 160 invitations extended to individuals with “cultural, diplomatic or economic links to the country”.
Before everyone was treated to a lavish feast (a starter of grilled broil with wild mushrooms and truffles with sorrel sauce, followed by windsor pheasant stuffed with artichokes, quince compote and a port sauce for mains, in case you were wondering) the monarch served traditional Formally say a few words and raise a glass in honor of the guest.
Charles impressed Ramaphosa by opening his speech with the word “welcome” in the many different languages used in South Africa. After cracking a few jokes, the king praised the economic, scientific and cultural ties between the countries. All standard remarks for a banal speech, but Charles also didn’t shy away from more challenging topics, highlighting Britain’s troubled legacy of colonialism.
“While there are elements of that history that provoke deep sadness, it is essential that we try to understand them,” he said. “If we want to unlock the power of our shared future, we must acknowledge the mistakes that have shaped our past.”
Charles’s comments were seen by many as part of a continuing effort to unify the Commonwealth realms, some of which have in recent years expressed intentions to break ties with London.
The monarch also took the opportunity to call for future collaboration on finding “practical solutions to the twin existential threats of climate change and biodiversity loss”.
With this first visit by a foreign leader coming just two months into his reign, the king was keen to reflect on his late mother’s relationship with South Africa, recalling her visits to the country when she visited London. hosted Ramaphosa’s predecessors and the friendship he shared with respected statesman Nelson Mandela.
Other royals were also keen to make Elizabeth II’s presence felt, with Camilla donning the late queen’s dazzling sapphire and diamond tiara with a matching necklace and bracelet, and Kate wearing a bracelet that commemorates the family patriarch. was related to
The state visit to South Africa was Charles’ first major diplomatic test. He revealed that while he will rely on the templates set up by his mother, he wants to shake things up and tackle issues that are important to him and his subjects.
Clearly, he plans to do it in full force with Camilla, William, and Kate, and supporting their dramas with other members of the House of Windsor. It became common to see Charles support and sometimes stand in for his mother in the twilight of his reign. But this week, the prominence of the Prince and Princess of Wales during the state visit signaled that the couple have been elevated to important central roles. The four will work together, front and center, sharing duties to secure the future of the dynasty.
Here are some of our favorite shots from the first state visit King Charles held as monarch.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa departs Horse Guards Parade with King Charles III and Camilla, Queen Consort in the Irish State Coach on their way to Buckingham Palace at the start of the President’s two-day state visit.
After sharing a private lunch, the King and the President headed to the Picture Gallery of Buckingham Palace, where they viewed items from the Royal Collection relating to South Africa. Here, Ramaphosa holds a photo of anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela, who served as South Africa’s president in the 90s alongside the late Queen Elizabeth II.
Ramaphosa was also invited to visit Westminster Abbey, where he was shown a memorial stone for Mandela. He was accompanied by the Dean of Westminster Abbey, The Very Reverend Dr David Hoyle.
Food circles around the table as King Charles speaks during a state banquet on Tuesday night.
The following day, the Earl of Wessex accompanied Ramaphosa to the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Later, the pair visited the Francis Crick Institute, a research center that collaborates with the University of KwaZulu-Natal. During the stop, he learned about the technology being used to diagnose infections on the African continent and met scientists and students from South Africa.
The state visit gave the UK PM Rishi Sunak the opportunity to receive Ramaphosa at 10 Downing Street for a bilateral meeting.
Charles’s engagement day in the capital.
The king was a man about town on Wednesday as he visited the three institutions that are home to many of the country’s leading lawyers, doctors and jewellers. First, the king visits Grays Inn, one of the four Inns of Court in London where barristers have cut their teeth for more than six centuries. Before visiting the ancient grounds of the Inn in central London, Charles met a number of apprentices who were expected to be called to the bar soon. From there, the king made the short journey to St Bartholomew’s Hospital – the oldest hospital in Britain – where a restoration project is due to begin in 2023, the building’s 900th anniversary year. Specialist craftsmen are rejuvenating the facility’s historic North Wing – a Grade I listed architecture adorned with a medieval grand staircase and paintings by William Hogarth. The king met frontline staff at the hospital as well as those working to renovate the building. To end the day, the King visited the Goldsmiths Centre, the UK’s leading educational institution for training jewelers and silversmiths. Aware of the King’s long-standing commitments to environmental causes, the Goldsmiths’ Company gifted him a cross made from recycled silver. The day showed how Britain’s historic institutions continue to thrive with new talent.
Camilla helps the Paddington Bears find new homes this Christmas.
who knew when the queen sat down with Paddington Bear for High Tea Will she become intrinsically attached to the adorable children’s literature character? The unexpected pairing so impressed the nation that, following the monarch’s death, mourners had to be asked by the Palace whether they would stop forsaking their trademark marmalade sandwiches amid wreaths. Mourners left more than 1,000 Paddington Bear toys outside royal residences. Not wanting them to go to waste, the toys were collected, cleaned, and donated to Barnardo’s Children’s Charity this week by the Queen Consort. A fleet of taxis transported the bears in style to Barnardo’s nursery in Bow, east London, on Thursday, accompanied by Camilla herself. After a very special teddy bear picnic, there children were gifted some lovely toys; Others will be distributed to children across the country supported by donations.
David Hockney adds a splash of color to the proceedings at Palace.
British artist David Hockney has made a career out of his extravagant uses of color – and as his recent appearance at Buckingham Palace showed it clearly isn’t just confined to canvas. It’s not every day that Britons are invited to lunch at Buckingham Palace. Very few people are invited because they are members of the Order of Merit. This prestigious award is reserved for only the most talented individuals in the Commonwealth – there can only be 24 living members at a time. For those invited to Buckingham Palace to celebrate the feat, the expectation is that they’ll be dressed better than their Sunday best. But David Hockney has always been one to defy expectations. The 85-year-old arrived at the palace wearing yellow Crocs – not brogues or oxfords. The jaunty fashion choice added some extra zest to the occasion.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex joined a troupe of famous faces sending well wishes to Elton John as he played his final North American tour date at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles last weekend. The pair appeared in a video message broadcast before the start of the concert, in which Harry thanked the musician for being a friend to the family and entertaining the world for many decades. “Thank you for being our friend and thank you for being (a friend) to our kids and thank you for entertaining people around the world,” Duke said.
A reminder to Royal News readers: just a quick note to let you know that we will be covering the Prince and Princess of Wales’ US visit next week. This means that next week’s edition may be published a little later than usual, depending on how events unfold.
– Max and Lauren