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A sparkling State Visit and a queen with hedgehogs – the royal week, in photos

All the pomp and pageantry of a State Visit that turned into a huge success, one of the biggest K-Pop bands getting a special honour and a long lost tiara all helped produce a week to remember. Oh, and there’s a queen with a hedgehog. Welcome to the royal week, in photos.

State Visit Success

Picture by Stephen Lock / i-Images

King Charles and Queen Camilla welcomed the President and First Lady of South Korea to the UK for a State Visit this week but what started with the traditional display of pomp and pageantry turned into a forward thinking success that took many by surprise. After a ceremonial welcome and carriage ride to Buckingham Palace, The King put a fresh spin on State Visits by welcoming K-Pop sensations, Blackpink, to the State Banquet and praising them in his speech, much to their shock. They were back the next day to receive honorary MBEs while Changing of the Guard included a rendition of Gangnam Style. The Duchess of Edinburgh took the lead on day two, accompanying the Korean Head of State at an important bilateral event, while the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester were also given high profile roles. State Visit success in the Palace area.

Politics and public image

Casa de S.M. el Rey

King Felipe VI of Spain oversaw the swearing in of the country’s Prime Minister, Pedro Sanchez, as he formed a new administration. It’s normal proceedings when the country gets a new government but this has been a far from normal build up. There have been protests across Spain against the coalition formed by Pedro Sanchez which includes plans for an amnesty for some separatist leaders. King Felipe has come in for criticism from some for asking Pedro Sanchez to try and form a government although the Royal Household has said this was in compliance with the constitution. There were no smiles this week as this moment in history was captured on camera.

A moment of sparkle, nine decades in the making

Stephen Lock/ i-Images

The State Banquet for the South Korean State Visit produced plenty of surprises including the reappearance of a rather historic tiara, last seen in public in the 1930s. The Princess of Wales wore the Strathmore Rose diadem which came to the Royal Family via the Queen Mother. It was given as a wedding present to the then Duchess of York in 1923 by her parents, the Earl and Countess of Strathmore, and worn regularly for about a decade before being put away in the vaults. Its use by the Princess of Wales marked a return to public view after around nine decades.

The queen and her three hedgehogs

Queen Maxima of the Netherlands had cutest royal photo of the week won before anyone else got started this week as she posed, up close, with a hedgehog. She was snapped with one as she gave her support to a protection programme for the animals which have come under threat in the Netherlands from more traffic, more buildings and weather changes. So HM released three into the rather lovely garden surroundings of her royal home at Huis ten Bosch Palace in the hope that they’ll thrive and provide more little hedgehogs for the regal gardens. What’s not to love about a queen cuddling a hedgehog? Extra props for the protective gloves in, of course, orange, the colour of her royal house. PR perfection in one photo.

About author

Lydia Starbuck is Jubilee and Associate Editor at Royal Central and the main producer and presenter of the Royal Central Podcast and Royal Central Extra. Lydia is also a pen name of June Woolerton who is a journalist and writer with over twenty years experience in TV, radio, print and online. Her latest book, A History of British Royal Jubilees, is out now. Her new book, The Mysterious Death of Katherine Parr, will be published in March 2024. June is an award winning reporter, producer and editor. She's appeared on outlets including BBC 5 Live, BBC Radio Ulster and BBC Local Radio and has also helped set up a commercial radio station. June is also an accomplished writer with a wide range of material published online and in print. She is the author of two novels, published as e-books. She is also a marriage registrar and ceremony celebrant.