King and Queen Consort will host South African president Cyril Ramaphosa and first lady Dr Tshepo Motsepe for first state visit next month
- The King and Queen Consort will host their first state visit from November 22-24
- Visit understood to have been in early stages of planning when late Queen died
- First state visit since former US president Donald Trump came to Britain in 2019
The King and Queen Consort are to host their first state visit at Buckingham Palace next month.
Charles and Camilla will welcome South African president Cyril Ramaphosa and first lady Dr Tshepo Motsepe from November 22 to 24.
The visit is understood to have been in the early stages of planning when the late Queen died.
The King and Queen Consort are to host their first state visit at Buckingham Palace next month
She met Mr Ramaphosa when he came to London in 2018 for a Commonwealth heads of government meeting, and she gave him letters sent to her by former president Nelson Mandela.
The state visit next month will be the first since former US president Donald Trump came to Britain in 2019.
The Emperor of Japan was meant to come in 2020, however it was called off as a result of the pandemic.
Normally, visiting heads of state would set up residence at Buckingham Palace, but it is not clear whether this will be possible because major building work is being carried out at the monarch’s official London home.
South Africa is a long-standing member of the Commonwealth, having joined in 1931. It left in 1961, only to rejoin in 1994. Pictured: the late Queen with President Mbeki of South Africa and the Duke of Edinburgh, at Windsor, during the president’s three day State visit in 2001
Charles and Camilla will welcome South African president Cyril Ramaphosa and first lady Dr Tshepo Motsepe from November 22 to 24. Pictured King Charles talking to South African models in 2011 in Cape Town
The last visiting head of state to have stayed at Buckingham Palace was King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands in 2018.
President Trump stayed overnight with the US Ambassador at his official residence in London when he came to visit – much to the leader’s disappointment.
State visits are a crucial part of the Royal Family’s role in promoting Britain abroad and strengthening international relationships. Foreign heads of state are hosted by the monarch amid great pomp and ceremony, with full military honours and lavish banquets.
The visits are considered a prime example of the monarchy’s power of ‘soft diplomacy’. All state visits are undertaken at the request of the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.
The timing of the trip, which will have been pencilled in for several months, comes at a difficult time for president Ramaphosa, who faces calls for his impeachment.
Former South African spy agency boss Arthur Fraser has filed a criminal complaint against Mr Ramaphosa, accusing him of money laundering and bribery to cover up a burglary at his game farm in February 2020.
It is alleged that £3.5million in illicit US dollars was stolen, before the suspects were caught, interrogated and paid off to keep the presence of undeclared foreign currency secret.
The president, who came to power on an anti-corruption ticket, has confirmed that there was a theft at his farm but has denied wrongdoing. Law enforcement agencies are investigating. But the National Assembly of South Africa has appointed an independent panel to make a preliminary assessment of whether Mr Ramaphosa should face an impeachment inquiry over alleged misconduct related to the theft.
South Africa is a long-standing member of the Commonwealth, having joined in 1931. It left in 1961, only to rejoin in 1994.
Buckingham Palace said last night: ‘The president of the Republic of South Africa, president Cyril Ramaphosa, accompanied by Dr Tshepo Motsepe, has accepted an invitation from His Majesty the King to pay a state visit.’
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