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Historic Visit of Emperor Naruhito to King Charles III

Nahurito and Masako on the left, Prince Charles and Camilla on the right

The Japanese Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako are on a state visit to the United Kingdom. Arriving on Sunday, June 23, their official program began this Tuesday, June 25, with a state banquet at Buckingham Palace. The imperial couple plans to visit Windsor Castle and pay tribute to Queen Elizabeth II by laying flowers on her grave. Their visit to Oxford on Wednesday, June 26, is particularly symbolic, reviving memories from forty years ago.

Between 1983 and 1985, Emperor Naruhito studied the history of transport on the Thames at Oxford. He later published an autobiographical book, The Thames and I: A Memoir of Two Years at Oxford. Empress Masako, on the other hand, studied international relations at Oxford from 1988 to 1990. These years were significant for the imperial couple, strengthening their ties with the United Kingdom.

The Emperor and Empress accepted the invitation from King Charles III for this visit, initially planned for 2020 but postponed due to the pandemic. Charles III is well acquainted with Japan, having visited several times, notably for the enthronements of Emperors Naruhito and Akihito.

The imperial couple was welcomed by Prince William before heading to Horse Guards Parade for a ceremonial event. They then proceeded to Buckingham Palace by carriage for a luncheon hosted by King Charles III. They will also visit Westminster Abbey and participate in a state banquet in the evening.

This state visit is historic, as Emperor Naruhito rarely travels. However, he had already attended Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral in 2022. This long-planned visit marks a new chapter in the relations between Japan, the world’s oldest monarchy, and the United Kingdom, whose royal family is the most famous on the planet.