King Charles welcomes South Africa’s Ramaphosa for first state visit
King Charles III, Duke of York and Albany, has welcomed South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa for the first state visit to UK this year marking 70 years since the country’s first white, black and coloured African president was sworn in as the nation’s first black leader.
The Duke was welcomed in Buckingham Palace, where he met the Queen and Prince George, Duke of Kent, before arriving at the state banquet, at which, he said: “We are very hopeful that our two countries can work with us to further strengthen and deepen the historic and deep bonds of friendship.”
“I’ve seen a lot of the United Kingdom throughout my lifetime, and I’ve always found it very welcoming,” said Ramaphosa. “It’s a country that I have always had very high regard for, and I look forward to our discussions.
“The Duke of York and Alba invites me to Buckingham Palace to celebrate 70 years of friendship with the United Kingdom. The two British people I have most admired in my life are my grandfather, John Churchill, and my father, Winston Churchill,” Ramaphosa said.
“They have both passed away, but to hear their stories, it makes you realise how important their friendship is. I have many wonderful memories of the United Kingdom and the people here in my life are all so special,” said the President during the banquet.
The dinner, part of The Queen’s 90th birthday celebrations, was hosted by former British Prime Minister, David Cameron. The UK has a very good relations with South Africa, including the trade partnership, trade agreement, and the investment and technology opportunities, said the Duke of York.
“As the British Prime Minister, you want to put the UK’s trading link with South Africa centre stage, so this is an opportunity to make the relationship stronger,” he said.
The Duke was shown round The Queen’s state apartments and was invited to meet the staff at Buckingham Palace, including the chief of security who was involved in his grandfather’s murder, and to meet members of the royal household.
“We want to make a lasting friendship with the people of South Africa, and with your country, we want to learn as