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LONDON (Reuters) – King Charles will make his first state visit since joining the British throne when he welcomes South African President Cyril Ramaphosa to Buckingham Palace on Tuesday.

Charles, 74, has played a leading role in many of the recent official visits by 112 foreign heads of state during the seven decades of his mother Queen Elizabeth’s reign, but will now make his first traditional ceremony, with pomp and circumstance, in his own reign.

The last state visit Elizabeth received was that of then US President Donald Trump and his wife Melania, in 2019.

Ramaphosa and his wife arrived on Monday, but will be officially welcomed by Charles’ eldest son and heir, Prince William, and his wife Kate, the following morning, at the official start of their two-day journey.

The visit will include a ceremonial welcome from the King and his wife Camilla, the Queen Consort, and a procession of carriages along the avenue known as The Mall to Buckingham Palace, where a grand banquet will be held in honor of the President.

Ramaphosa will also visit Westminster Abbey to pay respects at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and to see the memorial stone for former South African President Nelson Mandela. He will also address members of Parliament and meet British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.

(Reporting by Michael Holden; Additional reporting by Alistair Smout)

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