Kate Middleton and Prince William took on an important royal role for the first state visit of King Charles III’s reign.
The Prince and Princess of Wales welcomed South African President Cyril Ramaphosa in the first meeting of his trip to the U.K. Prince William and Kate, both 40, were called upon to do the initial welcome at London’s Corinthia Hotel in their roles as next-in-line to the throne.
Kate accessorized her purple ensemble with the Princess of Wales Feather Brooch, marking the first time she’s worn the piece since receiving her new title. The pendant has been worn by a number of royal women holding the title of Princess of Wales — including William’s mother, Princess Diana — since it was made as a wedding gift for Princess Alexandra of Denmark in 1863.
They then joined their visitor for a drive to Horse Guards Parade, where the full pageantry of the British state was on display. There, King Charles III with his wife Queen Camilla made the official welcome to President Ramaphosa. The Guard of Honour gave a royal salute and the South African national anthem was played before King Charles and President Ramaphosa inspected the troops.
In Green Park, across the road from Buckingham Palace, there was a spectacular Royal Gun Salute from the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery, at 12:10 p.m. local time.
Although the president’s wife, First Lady Dr. Tshepo Motsepe, was announced to accompany her husband during the trip to the U.K. when the visit was announced in October, she did not join him.