PHOTOS | President Cyril Ramaphosa meets King Charles and Rishi Sunak on a whirlwind tour of the UK | TBEN

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  • On Tuesday, King Charles welcomed President Cyril Ramaphosa to Buckingham Palace, hosting his first state visit since becoming British monarch.
  • Britain sought to strengthen its relations with its largest trading partner in Africa.
  • Ramaphosa praised the close ties between the two nations, forged in the wake of a troubled legacy of colonialism and apartheid.

King Charles hosted his first state visit since becoming British monarch on Tuesday. He welcomed Cyril Ramaphosa to Buckingham Palace, where South African President Nelson Mandela invoked as he paid tribute to the close ties between the two countries.

Charles, 74, rolled out traditional pomp and circumstance as Britain sought to strengthen its relations with its largest trading partner in Africa.

“South Africa, like the Commonwealth, has always been a part of my life. My mother often remembered her visit in 1947, the year before I was born, when she pledged her life to the service from Cape Town on her 21st birthday of the people of the Commonwealth,” Charles said in a speech at the president’s banquet.

“It is therefore very moving and special that you are our guest at this first state visit that we have organized,” he added.

Addressing legislators in parliament, Ramaphosa praised the close ties between the two nations, forged in the wake of a troubled legacy of colonialism and apartheid.

He later said that over lunch at Buckingham Palace he had spoken of “initiatives which may be undertaken by the Commonwealth under the direction of His Majesty the King”.

Ramaphosa said he would raise the idea of ​​bringing more South African students to study in Britain when he meets Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on Wednesday, adding that restructuring the South African energy market to combat power shortages could open opportunities for UK companies.

sa meets uk

Cyril Ramaphosa addresses legislators in parliament during his visit to the UK.

Twitter Twitter/@PresidencyZA

sa meets uk

Cyril Ramaphosa addresses legislators in parliament during his visit to the UK.

Twitter Twitter/@PresidencyZA

Ramaphosa said: “By pursuing these and other avenues of cooperation, I believe we will define the relationship between South Africa and the United Kingdom in new and exciting ways.”

Britain hopes the visit, scheduled before Queen Elizabeth’s death in September, will strengthen trade and investment ties between the two nations and demonstrate the importance of ties with the Commonwealth of Nations, the international organization that Charles now leads.

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“This is a strengthening of the strong bilateral relationship we have with South Africa, a real opportunity to build on that close working relationship and discuss some of the issues that affect us all,” British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said to Reuters.

First state visit since 2019

Ramaphosa was officially greeted by Charles’ eldest son and heir Prince William and his wife Kate at a central London hotel to mark the start of his two-day tour, the first state visit to the UK by a world leader since that of the then US . President Donald Trump and his wife Melania in 2019.

The last state visit by a South African leader to Britain was in 2010 from President Jacob Zuma.

Gun salutes and a ceremonial welcome from the King and his wife Camilla, the Queen’s consort, followed before a grand carriage procession along The Mall to Buckingham Palace, where the banquet will be held.

Ramaphosa would visit Westminster Abbey to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior and see the memorial stone to former South African President Nelson Mandela.

“The late Queen had the great pleasure of hosting Presidents Mandela, Mbeki and Zuma for state visits to the United Kingdom, at which I was present,” said Charles, adding that she had expressed her admiration for the country.

Ramaphosa said Britain had supported South Africa to help free Mandela and end apartheid, and he now urged Britain to support lower-income countries’ calls for a reformed global institutional order and climate justice .

“Let’s revive the moral purpose of the global struggle against apartheid to tackle the discrimination, inequality and injustice that divides humanity and stifles the progress of all,” he said.