Photos | King Charles welcomes President Ramaphosa with gun salutes and carriage procession

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William, the Prince of Wales and Catherine, the Princess of Wales, arrive as President Cyril Ramaphosa, King Charles III and the Camilla, Queen Consort, look on. Photo:  Yui Mok/Pool via Reuters
William, the Prince of Wales and Catherine, the Princess of Wales, arrive as President Cyril Ramaphosa, King Charles III and the Camilla, Queen Consort, look on. Photo: Yui Mok/Pool via Reuters

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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.

Flags of South Africa and Union Jack are seen on t
Flags of South Africa and the Union Jack are seen on The Mall on the day of a state visit by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, in London, Britain. Photo: Peter Nicholls/Reuters
Leon Neal/Pool via
Ramaphosa shakes hands with King Charles and Camilla, Queen Consort. Photo: Leon Neal/Reuters
President Cyril Ramaphosa, of South Africa, walks
President Cyril Ramaphosa walks with King Charles III as they inspect a guard of honour. Photo: Yui Mok/Pool/Reuters
President of South Africa Cyril Ramaphosa walks am
President Cyril Ramaphosa walks among royal guards at a ceremonial welcome on Horse Guards Parade in London. Photo: Kirsty Wigglesworth/Pool/Reuters

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.

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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: 

This is a reinforcement of the strong bilateral relationship that we have with South Africa, a real opportunity to build on that close working relationship and discuss some of the issues that affect us all.

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.

Britain's Prime Minister Rishi Sunak with foreign secretary James Cleverly stand with dignitaries at a ceremonial welcome for President Ramaphosa. Photo: Kirsty Wigglesworth/Reuters
King Charles and Camilla travel with President Ramaphosa in a carriage after a ceremonial welcome on Horse Guards Parade in London. Photo: Kirsty Wigglesworth/Reuters
President Ramaphosa stands with King Charles and Camilla at Buckingham Palace. Photo: Kin Cheung/Reuters
King Charles III formally welcomes President Cyril
King Charles III formally welcomes President Cyril Ramaphosa to Buckingham Palace. Photo: Elmond Jiyane/GCIS


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