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Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Japan royals in 3-day UK visit

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Japan’s Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako arrive in Britain on Saturday ahead of a three-day state visit hosted by King Charles III.

The royal couple are due to touch down on a flight from Japan and spend Sunday and Monday at private engagements before the official programme begins on Tuesday.

The highlight will be a state banquet at Buckingham Palace, with all eyes on a possible appearance by heir to the throne Prince William’s wife Catherine, rarely seen in recent months due to cancer treatment.

Naruhito, 64, will also go to Windsor Castle west of London to lay a wreath on the tomb of Queen Elizabeth II, whose state funeral he and the empress, 60, attended in September 2022.

With Britain in the midst of a general election campaign, it was not immediately clear if there would be any meeting with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.

Visiting heads of state have typically held talks with the premier and opposition leader, or addressed lawmakers in parliament.

But there are no MPs as parliament has been dissolved before the July 4 vote.

The trip will be the emperor’s second official state visit since his accession to the throne in 2019, following a visit to Indonesia last year.

For Charles, 75, it will be the third state visit he has hosted since he ascended to the throne following the death of his mother.

Like Catherine, he was diagnosed with cancer earlier this year but has made a limited return to public duties, and was seen this week with his wife Queen Camilla at the Royal Ascot horse racing meeting.

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