King Charles to host first state visit as monarch for South African president

The King will host his first state visit as monarch later as he welcomes Cyril Ramaphosa to the UK. Credit: PA/AP

The King will host the first inward state visit of his reign when he welcomes South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa to the UK.

He will perform his duty as head of state and greet the foreign leader during a ceremony attended by the Queen Consort and Prince and Princess of Wales, and staged on Horse Guards Parade in Whitehall.

On the day the two-day state visit by Mr Ramaphosa began, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced the UK and South Africa will join forces to “turbocharge infrastructure investment and economic growth together”.

The next phase of the UK-South Africa Infrastructure Partnership is being launched on Tuesday, supporting South Africa’s economic growth through major infrastructure developments and offering increased access to UK companies to projects worth up to £5.37 billion over the next three years, said Downing Street.

Cyril Ramaphosa is set to address politicians in a joint sitting of both Houses of Parliament. Credit: AP

Mr Sunak said: “South Africa is already the UK’s biggest trading partner on the continent, and we have ambitious plans to turbocharge infrastructure investment and economic growth together.

“I look forward to welcoming President Ramaphosa to London this week to discuss how we can deepen the partnership between our two great nations and capitalise on shared opportunities, from trade and tourism and security and defence.”

The state visit will see a series of firsts for the royal family who will take part in events over the coming two days as they host their guest Mr Ramaphosa.

The King will preside over his first state banquet as monarch, held in honour of the president, and will be joined by the Queen Consort, with William and Kate expected to be part of the Buckingham Palace event for the first time in their new roles.

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South Africa’s High Commissioner, Jeremiah Nyamane Mamabolo, hailed the importance of the state visit after speaking to the King a few weeks ago when King Charles visited an exhibition of South African fashion in London.

Mr Mamabolo, who is expected to be among the state banquet guests, said: “The important thing is that the King has focused for his first visit, to be with Africa, South Africa, and the Commonwealth.”

During the welcoming ceremony on Horse Guards Parade, the president, accompanied by the King, will inspect the Guard of Honour, found by Number 7 Company Coldstream Guards.

King Charles and Camilla, the Queen Consort, will host a banquet for Mr Ramaphosa. Credit: PA

Afterwards, spectators in The Mall will be treated to the sight of a carriage procession carrying Mr Ramaphosa, the King and Queen Consort and The Prince and Princess of Wales.

Following a private lunch at Buckingham Palace, given by Charles, the King will accompany the president as he views South African artefacts from the Royal Collection in the Picture Gallery.