King Charles III to host President Cyril Ramaphosa in first state visit of reign

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President Cyril Ramaphosa
President Cyril Ramaphosa
Photo: Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images
  • King Charles will host President Cyril Ramaphosa and Tshepo Motsepe in November at Buckingham Palace.
  • The state visit will be the first of Charles' reign.
  • The visit will likely include a ceremonial welcome on Horse Guards Parade, a gun salute and a grand "state banquet" in the palace's ballroom.

King Charles III will next month host the first state visit of his new reign when South African President Cyril Ramaphosa and his wife travel to Britain, Buckingham Palace announced Monday.

"The President of the Republic of South Africa... has accepted an invitation from his majesty the king to pay a state visit to the United Kingdom from Tuesday 22nd November to Thursday 24th November 2022," the palace said.

"The king and the queen consort (Camilla) will host the state visit at Buckingham Palace," it added, noting South Africa's first lady Tshepo Motsepe would accompany her husband on the visit.

Charles III ascended to the throne following the 8 September death of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, the country's longest-serving sovereign.

Ramaphosa attended the state funeral of the queen on 19 September after he passed the coffin of the queen lying in state at Westminster Hall on Sunday and was photographed signing a book of condolence.

He rushed back to South Africa, however, cutting his overseas trip short amid Eskom's ongoing crisis, with South Africans experiencing stage 6 loadshedding at the time.

Following news of the queen's death, Ramaphosa paid tribute to her "extraordinary" characters saying:

Her Majesty was an extraordinary and world-renowned public figure who lived a remarkable life. Her life and legacy will be fondly remembered by many around the world. The queen's commitment and dedication during her 70 years on the throne remains a noble and virtuous example to the entire world.
Naledi Pandor, Cyril Ramaphosa
South Africa's Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor and South Africa's President Cyril Ramaphosa pay their respects as they pass the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II, as it Lies in State inside Westminster Hall, at the Palace of Westminster in London on 18 September 2022.
Cyril Ramaphosa
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa signs a book of condolence at Lancaster House in London on 18 September 2022 following the death of Queen Elizabeth II on 8 September.

As the UK's head of state, the monarch makes and hosts state visits with foreign royals, presidents or prime ministers, which are arranged on the advice of the government's Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO).

The new king is yet to announce his first overseas visit, with reports that plans are being finalised for him to travel to France after he bonded with President Emmanuel Macron over environmental issues.

It emerged late Saturday that he will not travel to next month's COP27 climate summit in Egypt after UK Prime Minister Liz Truss reportedly "objected" to Charles attending at a meeting last month between the pair.

That follows speculation Truss could controversially scale back the country's climate change commitments.

State visits to Britain typically involve a ceremonial welcome on Horse Guards Parade in the heart of the capital, accompanied by gun salutes fired from Green Park and the Tower of London.

The visiting dignitaries are invited to inspect a guard of honour before travelling to Buckingham Palace in a carriage procession escorted by a large number of mounted soldiers from the Household Cavalry.

That evening, the monarch usually hosts around 150 guests - invited on the basis of their cultural, diplomatic or economic links to the country being hosted - at a grand "state banquet" in the palace's ballroom.

The sovereign makes a speech and proposes a toast to the visiting head of state, who replies and makes their own toast.

The visiting dignitary will then usually hold meetings with political leaders in the following days.

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