Kate Middleton and Prince William are leading the royal welcome for a special state visit.
The Prince and Princess of Wales, both 41, kicked off a day of royal pageantry by welcoming the President of South Korea, Yoon Suk Yeol, and his wife, First Lady Kim Keon Hee, to London as they started a two-day tour in the U.K.
Prince William and Princess Kate met the presidential couple at their hotel in London. They then traveled together to Horse Guards Parade, where they joined King Charles and Queen Camilla for the ceremonial welcome.
After a royal salute, the Republic of Korea’s national anthem was played and the president, accompanied by King Charles, carried out the official inspection by walking along the Guard of Honour of F Company Scots Guards.
The formal ceremony ended with the president and first lady joining King Charles, Queen Camilla, Prince William and Princess Kate in a carriage procession along The Mall to Buckingham Palace, where they will be met by a second Guard of Honour of the 1st Battalion Welsh Guards.
Back at Buckingham Palace, the King and Queen will host a viewing of a special exhibition in the Picture Gallery of items from the Royal Collection relating to the Republic of Korea and a private lunch for their guests.
Yoon Suk Yeol and his wife will later take part in a wreath-laying ceremony at the Korean War Memorial to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of the war before they partake in another traditional stop-off for any incoming state visit: a trip to Westminster Abbey, where tribute will be made in the form of a wreath laying at the Grave of the Unknown Warrior.
Later, royal watchers will be treated to a glittering array of jewels and tiaras on show at the state banquet staged in the ballroom at Buckingham Palace.
This is the second state visit that King Charles has hosted since he became monarch in September 2022. The first was the occasion when the President of South Africa Cyril Ramaphosa came to London a year ago.
Prince William and Princess Kate’s key role in welcoming their guests mirrors when they did the same thing to welcome President Ramaphosa.
The day after Queen Elizabeth’s death in Sept. 2022, King Charles made William and Kate the new Prince and Princess of Wales, recognizing their seniority in the family and signaling their critical roles ahead.
“Charles is leading the way for them already, and [William and Kate] are both involved in decision-making behind the scenes. They are ready and willing to do the job — and Kate is very much a part of that,” a friend of the princess recently told PEOPLE.
In the last year, the Prince and Princess of Wales have forged ahead with work that will be central to their lives for decades to come. Princess Kate has taken her early childhood initiative to a new public level with Shaping Us, a campaign focused on kids under age 5, while Prince William is concentrating on a new homelessness project, Homewards. He has been increasing his global role, too, meeting President Joe Biden in Boston last December and traveling to the border between Poland and Ukraine in March.