King Charles welcomes South Africa’s Ramaphosa for first state visit
The Prince of Wales and the King of Siam join the Royal couple for this month’s state visit to South Africa. (AP Photo/Shuupong Chantawongsa)
LONDON (AP) — The British royals were on a mission to put down deep roots in South Africa this week, with Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles hosting a state visit that will introduce the younger brother of the king of Thailand to the wealthy, stable southern African country for the first time.
Prince Harry, a graduate student who lives in the U.K, and his future brother-in-law, Prince William met their royal hosts, South African President Jacob Zuma and his wife, and the country’s prime minister, in London Wednesday, and then toured an African Renaissance Museum in Cape Town.
The royal hosts and the rest of their delegation are expected to spend a week or so in South Africa before leaving for Botswana to visit Queen Elizabeth II and her husband, the king, who was born in South Africa and is the heir presumptive.
The visit is a milestone in South Africa’s development, which took a leap in 2017 after Zuma became the first foreign leader to visit the country since Nelson Mandela’s retirement from public life.
The royal state visit comes amid a resurgence of tourism to the African nation, which is poised to become a top producer of food, fiber and minerals.
South Africa’s economy has soared in the past two decades, following the fall of apartheid and the birth of Nelson Mandela, then the nation’s first black president, who steered his country away from a repressive system of racial oppression.
While the trip is meant to showcase South Africa as a stable, modern democracy and forge stronger ties with the region, it could also have an unintended benefit for Britain.
South Africa is now the only other country besides the U.S. — which also has its ties to Nelson Mandela — to host a queen’s state visit. The queen also visited the U.S. in 1985, when she was the same age as Prince Harry