King Charles welcomes South Africa President Cyril Ramaphosa for first state visit of his reign

22 November 2022, 14:09 | Updated: 22 November 2022, 15:21

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King Charles has held his first state visit, welcoming South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa as he started a two-day trip to the UK. Picture: Getty / LBC

By Chris Samuel

King Charles has held his first state visit, welcoming South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa with the Queen Consort on a as he started a two-day trip to the UK.

National figures in the royal pavilion for a ceremonial welcome with PM Rishi Sunak, senior Cabinet members, the Lord Mayor of London, Nicholas Lyons, and the Defence Chiefs of Staff in attendance.

As well as Charles, The President also met the Prince and Princess of Wales, who travelled to Mr Ramaphosa’s hotel in central London and accompanied him to the start of the ceremonial welcome at Horse Guards Parade.

Over 1,000 soldiers and more than 230 horses took part in event and two lines of Foot Guards from Number 7 Company The Coldstream Guards were waiting at the ceremonial site and nearby were the Sovereign’s Escort of the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment – Life Guards and Blues and Royals.

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The man who delivered the spectacle, Lieutenant Colonel James Shaw, Brigade Major of Headquarters Household Division said: “The state visit is a historic first: our first state visit for His Majesty the King and the President of South Africa, the first state visit in London since 2019, the first processional state visit on Horse Guards since 2018, and the first for almost everyone on parade.”

President Ramaphosa stands alongside King Charles, the Queen Consort and the Prince and Princess of Wales.
President Ramaphosa stands alongside King Charles, the Queen Consort and the Prince and Princess of Wales. Picture: Getty

He added: “A huge amount of work has gone into preparing for the visit and we are very proud to support such an important national occasion.”

The visit coincides with the launch of the next phase of the UK-South Africa Infrastructure Partnership today
The visit coincides with the launch of the next phase of the UK-South Africa Infrastructure Partnership today. Picture: Getty

The next phase of the UK-South Africa Infrastructure Partnership is being launched today, which is 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, Downing Street says.

Kate Middleton arrives for the ceremonial welcome.
Kate Middleton arrives for the ceremonial welcome. Picture: Getty

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.”

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