Surrounded by Kate and William, Cyril Ramaphosa begins his state visit to the UK

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa is in the UK on 22 and 23 November 2022 for a two-day state visit, the first since Charles III’s accession to the throne. Warmly welcomed by Kate and William, the Prince and Princess of Wales, the head of state began a busy first day on Tuesday.

For a few days now, the rainbow nation’s flag has graced the corridors of the Mall in London. All is ready, on 22 November 2022, for the start of South African President Cyril Ramaphosa’s two-day state visit. Arriving the day before at London Stansted airport, the head of state came without his wife Tshepo Motsepe, forced to stay in Pretoria. “The first lady expressed her deep regret at not being able to attend the state visit,” the presidential palace said. In fact, “on the advice of her doctors, she could not travel on a long-haul flight due to her recovery from recent eye surgery”.

“Confirm the solid foundation between the two countries”

Down at the Corinthia Hotel, between Trafalgar Square and the River Thames, Cyril Ramaphosa is joined on site, this Tuesday morning, by the Prince and Princess of Wales. “It is a pleasure to welcome the President to the UK,” the couple said. Dressed in an elegant Emilia Wickstead coat dress, Kate wears a Princess of Wales feather brooch, a piece of jewelery once worn by Princess Diana and the Duchess of Cornwall.

Together with her husband, the Princess of Wales greets the President of South Africa on the first day of his state visit to the UK. © PA Photos/ABACA

All three then walk towards Horse Guards Parade, where King Charles III and his wife, Queen Consort Camilla await them. Installed in the Royal Pavilion, the sovereign couple greet the British Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, members of the government and the armed forces, and the Lord Mayor of London, Nicholas Lyons, while God save the king.

Charles III and Rishi Sunak at the Horse Guards Parade on 22 November 2022.
King Charles III greets Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on his arrival at the Royal Pavilion. © Agency / Bestimage

Under brilliant sunshine, the South African head of state appeared on Horse Guards Parade alongside Kate and William. Cyril Ramaphosa exchanges warm handshakes with Charles III and Camilla. This is the sovereign’s first state visit since assuming the throne last September. Before the anthems of South Africa and Great Britain are played, the guard of honor gives the royal salute. It consists of Number 7 Company of the Coldstream Guards. Charles III is the Colonel-in-Chief of this infantry regiment, a member of the Household Division.

Charles, Camilla, Kate, William and Cyril Ramaphosa at the Horse Guards Parade on 22 November 2022.
Official welcoming ceremony at Horse Guards Parade to mark the start of Cyril Ramaphosa’s two-day state visit. © I-Images/ABACA

After the review of the troops with his guest, the King, the President of South Africa and the Queen Consort board the Irish State Carriage and drive up The Mall towards Buckingham. The Prince and Princess of Wales and Naledi Pandor, Minister for International Relations and Cooperation, follow them in the Australian state coach. All attend a private lunch hosted by Charles III at the palace.

Charles III, Camilla and Cyril Ramaphosa, in London, 22 November 2022.
Royal pomp returns to London: The King, Queen Consort and President Ramaphosa head to the mall in the Irish state carriage. © PA Photos/ABACA

This state visit is “an opportunity for South Africa and the UK to identify new areas of cooperation to promote economic recovery and stability and confirm the solid foundations between the two countries”, explains the South African Presidency. This afternoon, November 21, after a visit to the Buckingham Picture Gallery with the King and then to Westminster Abbey, Cyril Ramaphosa will go to the Palace of Westminster where he will address the attention of MPs. He will join the sovereign couple, the Prince and Princess of Wales and other members of the royal family this Tuesday evening for a state banquet given in his honor at Buckingham.

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