The King has welcomed South Africa’s president at the start of the first state visit he is hosting as monarch.
Cyril Ramaphosa was formally greeted by King Charles and Camilla, the Queen Consort, at Horse Guards Parade in London as the two-day trip began.Before attending a banquet hosted by the King at Buckingham Palace later, the president will visit Westminster Abbey.The visit of Mr. Ramaphosa comes as South Africa struggles to deal with persistent power outages and high unemployment.After being stopped during the Covid pandemic, this is their first state visit to the UK in over three years.
On Tuesday morning, the Prince and Princess of Wales met the president of South Africa at his hotel in London before escorting him to Horse Guards Parade for the official welcome with the King.The president and King also visited Horse Guards, where Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, Foreign Secretary James Cleverly, and Home Secretary Suella Braverman examined Coldstream Guardsmen.As is customary at the beginning of a state visit, more than 1,000 soldiers and 230 horses lined up on the parade ground in central London.After that, Mr. Ramaphosa and His Majesty rode in a carriage procession down the Mall to Buckingham Palace.As the royal party and their guests arrived at the palace, where the King, Queen Consort, and President are having a private lunch, the band of the Scots Guards played the British and South African national anthems.Following the custom of laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior in Westminster Abbey, Mr. Ramaphosa, who has been the head of government in South Africa since 2018, will then address MPs and peers in the Royal Gallery of the Palace of Westminster.Mr. Ramaphosa will later attend the King’s white-tie banquet at Buckingham Palace, where they will both deliver speeches.
The visit is carried out in the same manner as it was during the time of the late Queen Elizabeth II.Pumza Fihlani, a correspondent for the BBC in southern Africa, reports that the president intends to make use of the state visit in order to garner support for British investments in South Africa in order to boost the country’s industries and economic growth.
However, his visit comes at a time when Mr. Ramaphosa is being criticized for the high unemployment rate in South Africa and the recurrence of power outages that affect homes, businesses, and schools across the country almost every day for several hours.He also said this month that if he was charged with covering up a robbery at his private farm, which he denies, he would “step aside.”Before his party’s leadership conference next month, Mr. Ramaphosa received support from a majority of his 4,000 branches across the country on the day the state visit in London began.Zweli Mkhize, the former health minister who resigned from the government amid corruption allegations during the Covid-19 pandemic, will pose a threat to him for the leadership position.Dr. Tshepo Motsepe, the First Lady of South Africa, has not traveled with the president to London.She was reportedly advised not to travel while recovering from eye surgery.The pomp and circumstance of a state visit was back on the streets of London under a cool blue sky.With a gun salute and a military band in the background, the Household Cavalry marched through the late afternoon sun.This grand reception’s choreography was as crisp as the surrounding autumn leaves.Bystanders on the Mall gave the modern equivalent of a royal salute as the Irish State Coach carrying the King, Queen Consort, and South African president arrived, and they raised their phones to capture the moment.The carriage that was left behind was taken by the Prince and Princess of Wales.As the procession made its way toward Buckingham Palace, there was also a clearly visible police presence along the pavement.
Mr. Ramaphosa will be taken to the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew in south-west London on Wednesday by the Earl of Wessex.The South African pioneer will then visit Bringing down Road to meet Top state leader Rishi Sunak, prior to getting back to the castle to say goodbye to the Lord.Mr. Sunak stated:The United Kingdom’s largest trading partner on the continent is already South Africa, and we have ambitious plans to accelerate infrastructure investment and economic expansion together.
“I am looking forward to welcoming President Ramaphosa to London this week to discuss how we can deepen the partnership between our two great nations and take advantage of shared opportunities, including trade, tourism, security, and defense,”In addition, the president will receive a call from Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer and join the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester at a Guildhall banquet.