Another first. King Charles III hosted his first state visit as monarch on Tuesday, November 22, in London.
President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa received the warm welcome. Princess Kate and Prince William were the first to greet President Ramaphosa, their guest at the Corinthia Hotel before they escorted him to a formal meeting with the king and Queen Consort Camilla.
The state visit was the first time Charles, 74, hosted a state visit as king, a role he took over upon his mother Queen Elizabeth II‘s death on September 8 at age 96. His ascension happened immediately but the coronation will take place May 6, allowing the royal family time to grieve the queen’s passing.
Ramaphosa greeted Charles and Camilla, 75, in central London in a Horse Guards Parade at the Royal Pavillion. More than 1,000 soldiers and 230 horses participated in the traditional opening of the state visit.
The Sovereign and his wife rode to Buckingham Palace in the Irish State Coach, a horse-drawn carriage, with Ramaphosa. The Prince and Princess of Wales, both 40, followed in the Australian State Coach with South Africa’s Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor. The South African and British national anthems played as the royals and politicians arrived for lunch at Buckingham.
While the men wore typical dark suits with white Oxford shirts, Camilla and Kate made bright fashion statements. The Duchess of Cambridge wore a plum-colored coat dress with a matching pillbox hat. She accessorized with the Princess of Wales feather brooch, marking her first time wearing it since inheriting the new title.
The king’s wife also wore a coat dress, opting for a cerulean blue look with a matching feathered hat. She accessorized with a black handbag, boots and gloves.
After meeting the royals, the president went to Westminster Abbey and the Palace of Westminster. He will return to Buckingham for a state banquet in the evening.
Though they’re hosting this visit with the South African president, William and Kate will soon be the guests as they travel abroad to Boston in December for the Earthshot Prize Innovation Summit.
“Kate and William are not taking this trip lightly and have been brainstorming with their team about the most effective ways to make a positive impact in the U.S.,” a source exclusively told Us Weekly last month, noting, “They’re taking a hands-on approach with speeches and engagements.”
It will be their first trip to the states as Prince and Princess of Wales.
Scroll down for photos from the royal parade and greeting: