King Charles III to Host South African Leader

Photo: Reuters [via Al Jazeera]

The Facts

  • South Africa's Pres. Cyril Ramaphosa will visit Buckingham Palace next month in the first state visit of King Charles III's reign. The state leader and his wife, First Lady Tshepo Motsepe, will make the trip from Nov. 22 to Nov. 24 to the monarch and Queen Consort.

  • The forthcoming three-day trip - which comes at the request of the Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office - will include a full state dinner with speeches. However, it is not clear whether Ramaphosa and his wife will stay in Buckingham Palace itself, as the building is being refurbished.

The Spin

Narrative A

Ramaphosa's projected persona as an honest and committed politician tackling corruption in the ruling African National Congress (ANC) party has been sullied. He has abused his role to further enrich his vast wealth, and such a figurehead is not worthy of the honor of a state visit to the UK.

Narrative B

Those who criticize the monarchy for hosting world leaders with potentially dubious records misunderstand the purpose of state visits - they are designed to honor countries, not individuals. As a diplomatic tool, state visits allow the UK to reach across chasms in trade, security, and political policy to influence administrations across the globe. If Queen Elizabeth II can receive President Xi Jinping, King Charles III can receive Ramaphosa.

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