The news follows the King and Queen's three-day state visit to France, rescheduled from the spring due to pension-related riots
Buckingham Palace announced that Yoon Suk Yeol, president of South Korea, will travel to the U.K. for a state visit in November.
Yoon previously met King Charles at Buckingham Palace in September 2022 on the eve of Queen Elizabeth's funeral.
King Charles and Queen Camilla made an outward state visit to France last week.
Early on Tuesday, Buckingham Palace announced that the King, 74, and Queen, 76, will welcome Yoon Suk Yeol, the president of South Korea, and his wife, First Lady Kim Keon Hee, to the U.K. for a state visit this fall. The date and further details are expected to be announced in due course.
“The President of the Republic of Korea, His Excellency Yoon Suk Yeol, accompanied by Mrs Kim Keon Hee, has accepted an invitation from His Majesty The King to pay a State Visit to the United Kingdom in November,” a statement said. “The King and Queen will host the State Visit at Buckingham Palace.”
King Charles and Yoon met at Buckingham Palace around this time last year. They connected at the reception for heads of state and official overseas guests held at the royal residence on the evening before Queen Elizabeth’s state funeral. The history-making monarch died at age 96 on Sept. 8, 2022, and her funeral at Westminster Abbey and committal service at St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle were held on Sept. 19. Like many visiting dignitaries, Yoon signed a book of condolence at Church House in London that day.
In his former royal role as the Prince of Wales (a title now held by his eldest son and heir, Prince William), Charles attended the State Banquet at Buckingham Palace for Roh Moo-hyun, the former president of South Korea, and his wife, Mrs. Roh Moo-hyun, during a state visit hosted by Queen Elizabeth in 2004. Charles also traveled to the Republic of Korea with Princess Diana in 1992.
State visits are an important part of the British royal family’s diplomatic duties, organized to strengthen relationships with other nations around the world.
“Foreign Monarchs, Presidents or Prime Ministers are invited to visit The King on the advice of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office,” the royal family’s website explains. “The programme for outward State Visits can vary widely, but incoming Visits usually feature a few regular events.”
According to Royal.UK, visits typically begin with a ceremonial welcome from the King and other members of the royal family at Horse Guards Parade. Guests are then invited to inspect a Guard of Honour before moving to the palace in a carriage procession with military escort before a marquee event that evening — a state banquet!
The glittering dinners are held in the ballroom of Buckingham Palace and historically seem to stipulate a white-tie dress code, where tiaras are welcome. About 150 people are invited “on the basis of their cultural, diplomatic or economic links to the country being hosted,” Royal.UK says, and the monarch makes a speech and proposes a toast to the visiting Head of State, who does the same.
From there, state visits usually last a few days. The guest of honor will meet with the Prime Minister and other government heads, possibly attending another banquet hosted by the Lord Mayor and City of London Corporation to meet more local leaders of commerce and industry.
King Charles hosted the first state visit of his royal reign in November 2022, welcoming South African President Cyril Ramaphosa to the U.K. The visit included all the traditional trappings, from a formal welcome by Kate Middleton and Prince William to a Guard of Honour inspection and sparkling state banquet at Buckingham Palace, where Princess Kate and Queen Camilla wore tiaras for the first time of the new reign.
Due to the COVID pandemic, the state visit was the first hosted by the British royal family since then-U.S. President Donald Trump visited the U.K. in 2019. A royal source confirmed that Ramaphosa’s three-day stay was on the calendar before Queen Elizabeth died "peacefully" on Sept. 8.
News of Yoon’s upcoming state visit comes just a few days after King Charles and Queen Camilla were fêted at a state banquet during their three-day state visit to France. Last Thursday, the King and Queen were guests of French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife, Brigitte, at the historic Palace of Versailles on the outskirts of Paris on the first night of their trip, which ran from Sept. 20 to Sept. 22. Versailles was a French Royal Palace for much of its history but is now a public museum.
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Around 150 guests, including prominent figures from both Britain and France, attended the glittering occasion. In a warm and personal toast, King Charles recalled past visits to France made by his mother, Queen Elizabeth, and father, Prince Philip.
"My parents’ first official visit together was to France in 1948, shortly after their wedding," Charles said. "By all accounts, they made quite a splash, dancing till the early hours at the glamorous Chez Carrere in the Rue Pierre Charron, serenaded by Edith Piaf. I suspect it may have left an indelible impression on me, even six months before I was born. 'La Vie en Rose' is one of my favorite songs to this day!"
The brief tour, which also included stops at the Arc de Triomphe, Rugby World Cup village, Notre Dame and an organic vineyard near Bordeaux, celebrated “Britain’s relationship with France, marking our shared histories, culture and values," King Charles' deputy private secretary Chris Fitzgerald said in a palace briefing.
The trip was originally planned for March, and postponed due to protests over changes in pensions for French workers. Fitzgerald said that the September program “remains very similar to that which was planned for March, meaning the themes of the visit are also, for the most part, unchanged."
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