On Tuesday, King Charles III hosted his first state visit since becoming British monarch, welcoming President Cyril Ramaphosa to Buckingham Palace in London.
Charles (74) rolled out the traditional pomp and ceremony, as Britain seeks to bolster its relations with its biggest trading partner in Africa.
Ramaphosa and Tshepo Motsepe, his wife, were officially greeted by Charles' eldest son and heir Prince William and his wife Kate at a central London hotel to mark the start of his two-day trip, the first state visit to the UK by a world leader since that of former US president Donald Trump and his wife Melania in 2019.
Gun salutes and a ceremonial welcome from the king and his wife Camilla, Queen Consort, followed, before a grand carriage procession along The Mall to Buckingham Palace, where a banquet will be held later in the president's honour.
Ramaphosa is scheduled to visit Westminster Abbey to lay a wreath at the grave of the Unknown Warrior and see the memorial stone for former president Nelson Mandela. He will also address legislators in Parliament and meet Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.
Britain hopes the visit, which had been planned before the death of Queen Elizabeth in September, will strengthen trade and investment ties between the two nations, and show the importance of links with the Commonwealth of Nations, the international organisation which Charles now heads.
British foreign minister James Cleverly told Reuters:
The last state visit to Britain by a South African leader was that of President Jacob Zuma in 2010, when he was met by Charles and Camilla at the start of the trip.
[PHOTOS]: His Majesty King Charles III and The Queen Consort host a State Banquet in honour of His Excellency President @CyrilRamaphosa at Buckingham Palace on the occasion of his State Visit.#SAinUK ????????#BetterAfricaBetterWorld ?? pic.twitter.com/8selimRbFo— Presidency | South Africa ???? (@PresidencyZA) November 23, 2022