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South Africa's New President Welcomed in Historical Visit to See the King

(Getty Images/Assorted Photographers)


The state visit was a historical milestone for England and South Africa since the late Queen first vowed to serve her country while on a state visit there herself in 1952. 


The young Queen’s Speech can be heard here, where she broadcast it from South Africa on the occasion of her 21st birthday in 1947 when she defacto became Queen as the eldest daughter.


It wasn’t until 1952 that she was crowned, but in 1952, she did another state visit to the colonies, including South Africa.


The new two-day state visit of Mr Cyril Ramaphosa also marks another significance.

 It has been twenty-six years since the Queen received Africa’s first black President in 1996- Nelson Mandela.


A video of the banquet in 1996,  recently released from ITN, owned by Getty in honour of Mr Ramaphosa's visit, can be seen here. 


The Queen had invited Mandela to a state banquet in Britain following her own visit to South Africa in March 1995.


The new state banquet with Mr Ramaphosa was initially arranged for when the late Queen was still reigning.  


Still, the pandemic and her health meant that the State visit was eventually pushed back and rearranged, and marked a first for King Charles III, as his first State Banquet since he ascended the throne after his mother’s passing nearly three months ago.


The Significance of the Photograph

Mr Ramaphosa even remarked on this significance to the king himself after spotting a photo of the late Queen and Mr Mandela at the state banquet when being shown various Royal artefacts, saying how ‘lovely’ the picture was, and the King responded that “You were lucky to have known both.”  


As a Prince, King Charles had always valued looking after the planet, and the many people on it, as custodians of the earth themselves. This is mainly reflected in the part of his speeches referring to the diplomatic relationships between countries.


From visits to Greece and the United Arab Emirates in place of the late Queen, the historical significance of the Royal family and its place in the modern world seemed to be evident in his address.    


The Diplomatic Relationship Between Africa and Britain in History

During the address to the President, the King even welcomed him in one of the languages of his nation, something he has been keen on learning to do since he first addressed Wales as its Prince in 1969.


Diplomatically the King continued to address the relationship between England and Africa, even stressing that although their entwined history was “Not always a happy one….” It was something both nations needed to acknowledge “-to unlock the power of our common future.”


“Of course, that relationship goes back centuries. While there are elements of that history, which provoke profound sorrow, we must seek to understand them.”


“As I said to Commonwealth's leaders earlier this year, we must acknowledge the wrongs which have shaped our past- if we are to unlock the power of our common future.”


Next, President Ramaphosa gave a kind speech, echoing the King's sentiments,  asking for a toast to the nation, “Your Royal Highness. Thank you for your very kind remarks and the warm welcome that you and the Queen concert have extended to me and the members of my delegation from South Africa.”


“On behalf of the people of South Africa, I extend warm greetings to your majesty. Through you to the people of the United Kingdom. Ladies and gentlemen, please join me and raise your glasses as I propose a toast to the good health and prosperity of his majesty, the King and her majesty, the Queen consort, and thank you very much indeed.”


The Fashion and its Significance to the Former Princess of Wales, Diana and Queen Elizabeth 

Mr Ramaphosa got to meet several essential figures at the State dinner, as well.


Catherine, the new Princess of Wales and William, Prince of Wales, were also trying to extend the ‘Royal Welcome’ through their clothes, as the late Queen did with her many matching hats, handbags and brooches.


Catherine, in particular, gave a nod to the former Princess of Wales, Diana, by wearing her pearl earrings at the Banquet, and since pearls also are an acceptable gemstone to wear in mourning, as a respectful nod to the past conflicts and difficulties Britain had with Africa when it was once a colony.    


Even the tiara she wore originally belonged to Queen Mary of Tek before being handed down to the late Queen Elizabeth and even worn by Diana. The pearl bracelet which belonged to Elizabeth was given to her before her death. 


The dress that Cathrine wore was even named after the Queen- the Elspeth design by Jenny Packham was changed slightly to make it suitable for the banquet, and Coincidentally or not, with the name, Elspeth- which means Elizabeth, though is the Scottish variant of the name, perhaps yet another tribute to the Scottish Queen, Elizabeth herself.


Similarly, The Queen Consort’s clothing also showed respect to the late Queen, with a choice of the Belgian Sapphire Tiara and matching necklace with the bracelet.


 That set was given to her by her father, King George IV, as a wedding present after she married Phillip, and is a sweet tribute to the Queen, particularly as she loved the set herself and was even in a portrait wearing it in 2019. 


What do you think about the State Banquet? Is it a start to help repair the history between Africa and England? 


Write to us below in the comments.



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Tags: History Nelson Mandela Inequality Diplomacy Slavery State Banquet King Charles III Prisident Cyril Ramaphosa Africa and Britain's relationship Apartied


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