Royals and world leaders descend on Buckingham Palace for grand gala on the eve of Charles' Coronation

5 May 2023, 21:36 | Updated: 5 May 2023, 22:03

Royals and world leaders descend on Buckingham Palace for grand reception on the eve of Charles' Coronation
Royals and world leaders descend on Buckingham Palace for grand reception on the eve of Charles' Coronation. Picture: LBC / Alamy

By Danielle DeWolfe

World leaders, royals and foreign dignitaries arrived at Buckingham Palace on Friday evening for a star-studded gala ahead of Saturday's Coronation.

International figures including Ukraine's first lady Olena Volodymyrivna Zelenska and current US first lady Jill Biden were pictured arriving at the palace ahead of the evening's celebrations.

Over 100 heads of state have now arrived in London ahead of tomorrow's royal ceremony, many of whom attended Friday night's glamorous event hosted by King Charles III and Queen Consort Camilla.

It's believed representatives from 203 countries will attend the ceremony at Westminster Abbey on Saturday morning as part of the regal event.

The Prince and Princess of Wales, the Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh, the Princess Royal and Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence also greeted their overseas guests at the event.

International figures including Ukraine's first lady Olena Volodymyrivna Zelenska and current US first lady Jill Biden were pictured arriving at the palace ahead of the evening's celebrations.
International figures including Ukraine's first lady Olena Volodymyrivna Zelenska and current US first lady Jill Biden were pictured arriving at the palace ahead of the evening's celebrations. Picture: LBC / Alamy

Ukraine's First Lady was spotted entering the palace alongside Ukrainian Prime Minister, Denys Shmyhal.

Mrs Zelenski is set to attend the Coronation in place of her husband, who remains at home as the fightback against Russia's illegal invasion continues.

Official pictures released by Buckingham Palace showed the grinning Princess of Wales standing shoulder with both the US and Ukrainian First Ladies.

"This evening The Princess of Wales met the First Lady of the United States of America, Jill Biden, and the First Lady of Ukraine, Olena Zelenska, during the Reception for Heads of State at Buckingham Palace," the Palace said in a statement.

Other notable foreign dignitaries included King Albert II and Princess Charlene of Monaco, Queen Letizia of Spain and the Crown Princess of Denmark and Crown Prince Frederik of Denmar.

Read more: King Charles's Coronation procession: Time, route map and best places to see the king

Read more: Coronation timetable: A complete schedule of timings and events for King Charles's weekend

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Labour leader were also spotted climbing the steps of Buckingham Palace, as well as Chancellor Jeremy Hunt.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Labour leader were also spotted climbing the steps of Buckingham Palace, as well as Chancellor Jeremy Hunt. Picture: LBC / Alamy

One of the more controversial attendees was Chinese Vice-President Han Zheng, who presided over a civil liberties crackdown in Hong Kong which led to widespread unrest across the nation.

It's a move that was branded "outrageous" by Tory MPs.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Labour leader were also spotted climbing the steps of Buckingham Palace, in addition to Tory Chancellor Jeremy Hunt.

Friday's celebration was somewhat fitting for the Labour leader in light of the parties political gains across the country.

Labour took Medway off the Tories and will now run the Kent council for the first time since 1998.

It comes as the Conservatives lost control of 46 councils while Labour has seized control of 21 – including Thanet, Dover, Bracknell Forest, Swindon, Plymouth, Medway.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Labour leader were also spotted climbing the steps of Buckingham Palace, in addition to Tory Chancellor Jeremy Hunt.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Labour leader were also spotted climbing the steps of Buckingham Palace, in addition to Tory Chancellor Jeremy Hunt. Picture: LBC / Alamy

Earlier in the day Kate joined a Buckingham Palace lunch for VIPs, which included working royals and government officials.

It was the second time in two days that the Prince and Princess of Wales delighted royal fans eagerly anticipating this weekend's Coronation.

Saturday's Coronation will see the King crowned in Westminster Abbey, with a parade winding from the gates of Buckingham Palace to the venue and back starting at around 10.30am.

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