King and Queen roll out red carpet for South Korean president ahead of Buckingham Palace banquet

21 November 2023, 12:46 | Updated: 21 November 2023, 14:26

The King and Queen have welcomed the president of South Korea to the UK ahead of a glittering state banquet in their guests' honour.

Yoon Suk Yeol and his wife Kim Keon Hee are spending three days in London for the first incoming state visit since the monarch's coronation in May.

The Prince and Princess of Wales were dispatched to greet the president and first lady at their hotel on Tuesday morning, following their low-key arrival at London Stansted on Monday.

The two couples then travelled to Horse Guards Parade together, where the King and Queen were waiting.

Military pomp and pageantry were on display as Mr Yoon and his wife were warmly greeted by the royal couple, before the president and the King inspected the troops together.

The King, Queen, William, Kate and their guests then travelled in a carriage procession down The Mall before enjoying a private lunch at Buckingham Palace.

The president and first lady will then be given a private tour of the palace's Royal Collection exhibits, which relate to South Korea.

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Mr Yoon will also lay a wreath at the Grave of the Unknown Warrior in Westminster Abbey and deliver an address at the Palace of Westminster's Royal Gallery.

On Tuesday evening, Mr Yoon and Mrs Kim will enjoy one of the Royal Family's most opulent events - a white tie and tiara banquet in the palace ballroom.

The event certainly has a lot to live up to. During an April visit to the United States, the South Korean president, a karaoke fan, belted out American Pie at a White House dinner following a request from Joe Biden.

This week will include serious business as well as ceremonial activities as the UK and South Korea will begin talks on a new trade deal and sign a diplomatic accord.

The president will also visit 10 Downing Street to speak with Rishi Sunak while his wife will be hosted by the prime minister's wife, Akshata Murty.