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Pomp and pageantry welcome King and Queen to Kenya

Photo by Chris Jackson/PA

By Tony Jones, PA Court Correspondent in Nairobi, Kenya

The King and Queen were officially welcomed to Kenya with a display of military pomp and pageantry as their state visit began.

Charles and Camilla were warmly greeted by Kenya’s President William Ruto and his wife First Lady Rachel Ruto at the State House in Nairobi during the first full day of their tour.

Before the formalities began the foursome posed for a picture for the waiting press with the president’s official residence as a backdrop.

The King later joined President Ruto on a dais, as a nearby Guard of Honour, formed in two rows, gave a royal salute and the Kenya Defence Force band played the UK and Kenyan national anthems followed by a 21-gun salute.

Charles inspected the troops, walking past the soldiers in their red tunics and peaked caps.

The King and Queen were invited by President Ruto for a five-day state visit, their first to a Commonwealth country, that will strengthen the UK’s relationship with Kenya through the “soft diplomacy” of the British royal family.

Kenya is celebrating the 60th anniversary of its independence from Britain and Charles later held a bilateral meeting with the Kenyan statesman while Camilla had separate talks with Mrs Ruto.

Later, a state banquet will be held in the King and Queen’s honour where Charles will give a speech to guests who will include prominent Kenyans and figures from the UK.

The King later paid his respects to Kenya’s fallen heroes, military and civilian, at the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior in Nairobi’s Uhuru Gardens National Monument and Museum.

At the site, marked by an eternal flame, Charles touched a large wreath of white and lilac roses placed on the ground by two Kenyan officers and a few minutes later Mr Ruto left his wreath.

The King’s floral tribute had a handwritten note which read: “In grateful remembrance – Charles R.”

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