King Charles welcomes South Africa’s Ramaphosa for first state visit: It is his first to South Africa, where he arrived last March with a host of other African leaders
CHARLEROI, France — The king of the Belgians and his wife celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary at the end of 2018. In their first state visit to South Africa last month, the king of the Belgians was once again joined by his family’s youngest daughter, Princess Astrid, the queen and the heir to the throne, Prince Bernhard.
The crown prince of the Belgian royal family, Prince Willem-Alexander, did not accompany the king. This was in anticipation of a possible visit to the United Nations in New York early next year by the new crown prince and heir apparent, Prince Gabriel. Earlier this month, both princes flew to New York to attend the UN General Assembly.
And as for the king, the first official state visit of his reign, he had reason to be pleased by the invitation. For, as the royal family has experienced in recent years, the president of South Africa is a particularly important partner on the world stage and the king had every reason to be at the forefront of European and African diplomacy after the historic breakthrough in the Franco-South African relationship.
This historic visit marked the first time that the king of the Belgians had visited South Africa. Charles de Broqueville, the former president of the Brussels-based Stala International Foundation, was invited by President Cyril Ramaphosa to be the first member of the family to visit the country.
“I have been very happy at the visit because I was able to meet the president,” the king said during his meeting with President Ramaphosa on Friday. “I also had a good conversation with his wife, the first time I have ever had this kind of meeting with a president’s wife. It was also very good to meet the president’s kids, who are so nice.”