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King Charles begins visit to Kenya with Queen Camilla by his side: Monarch is given ceremonial welcome on first state visit to a Commonwealth nation since he was crowned – as he prepares to address ‘painful’ colonial legacy


King Charles III today began his inaugural state visit to Kenya alongside Queen Camilla with a ceremonial greeting before the day ends with a lavish state banquet.

Kenya’s President William Ruto and his wife First Lady Rachel Ruto greeted their British guests at the official residence in Nairobi with a welcome of military pomp.

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

Charles and Camilla arrived last night on an RAF Voyager aircraft in Nairobi at 10pm local time (7pm UK time) and left the plane with no fuss or fanfare in what was billed an ‘administrative arrival’ ahead of the ceremonial welcome in the capital today.

Kenya is celebrating the 60th anniversary of its independence from Britain and 73-year-old Charles will sit down for a bilateral meeting with the Kenyan statesman, while Camilla, 76, will hold separate talks with Mrs Ruto.

During the day at Uhuru Gardens, the King will pay his respects at the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior by laying a wreath and the couple will also view the Mugomo Tree, a fig tree planted on the site of the declaration of Kenya’s independence in 1963. 

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.

Charles is also expected to acknowledge head-on the ‘more painful’ aspects of Britain’s colonial relationship with Kenya – including atrocities perpetuated during the Mau Mau rebellion – when he gives a return toast at the banquet.

Queen Camilla, King Charles III, Kenya's President William Ruto, and First Lady Rachel Ruto pose during a ceremonial welcome at State House in Nairobi today as the royal visit begins

Queen Camilla, King Charles III, Kenya’s President William Ruto, and First Lady Rachel Ruto pose during a ceremonial welcome at State House in Nairobi today as the royal visit begins

King Charles III and Queen Camilla meet Kenya's President William Ruto and his wife, First Lady Rachel Ruto, at their official residence in the capital of Nairobi today

King Charles III and Queen Camilla meet Kenya’s President William Ruto and his wife, First Lady Rachel Ruto, at their official residence in the capital of Nairobi today

King Charles III and Kenya's President William Ruto pose at the State House in Nairobi today

King Charles III and Kenya’s President William Ruto pose at the State House in Nairobi today 

King Charles III inspects the Guard of Honour during the ceremonial welcome in Nairobi today

King Charles III inspects the Guard of Honour during the ceremonial welcome in Nairobi today

Charles plants a tree while standing next to President Ruto at State House in Nairobi today

Charles plants a tree while standing next to President Ruto at State House in Nairobi today

Queen Camilla and King Charles III are greeted by President Ruto and the First Lady today

Queen Camilla and King Charles III are greeted by President Ruto and the First Lady today

King Charles III walks past a Guard of Honour during the ceremonial welcome in Nairobi today

King Charles III walks past a Guard of Honour during the ceremonial welcome in Nairobi today

Queen Camilla and Kenya's First Lady Rachel Ruto during a bilateral meeting in Nairobi today

Queen Camilla and Kenya’s First Lady Rachel Ruto during a bilateral meeting in Nairobi today

King Charles III shakes hands with Kenya's President William Ruto in Nairobi today

King Charles III shakes hands with Kenya’s President William Ruto in Nairobi today

King Charles III arrives today for a ceremonial welcome at State House in Nairobi, Kenya

King Charles III arrives today for a ceremonial welcome at State House in Nairobi, Kenya

Queen Camilla arrives today for a ceremonial welcome at State House in Nairobi, Kenya

Queen Camilla arrives today for a ceremonial welcome at State House in Nairobi, Kenya

Charles is unable to offer an official apology, despite calls by activists who also want Britain to pay further damages over human rights abuses dating back to the 1950s.

This is because he is visiting at the request of the British Government, which, while having already paid out nearly £20million in compensation, has not apologised.

President Ruto, who invited the British monarch, is also said to be keen that the royal visit looks to the future. 

However, the King, who through earlier trips to France and Germany as well as his handling of the Middle East crisis has proved an adept statesman, is determined not to sidestep the issue.

And it is thought that the banquet, which is set to include his first major public address of the trip, will be the perfect occasion.

One royal source told the Daily Mail that the king personally believed it was ‘right’ for people to want to be heard and acknowledged at ‘the highest of levels’.

Britain's King Charles stands in front of the Guard of Honour at State House in Nairobi today

Britain’s King Charles stands in front of the Guard of Honour at State House in Nairobi today

Charles speaks with Kenya's President William Ruto and Camilla talks with Rachel Ruto today

Charles speaks with Kenya’s President William Ruto and Camilla talks with Rachel Ruto today 

King Charles is welcomed by the President of Kenya, William Ruto, in Nairobi today

King Charles is welcomed by the President of Kenya, William Ruto, in Nairobi today

Queen Camilla, King Charles III, Kenya's President William Ruto, and First Lady Rachel Ruto pose during a ceremonial welcome at State House in Nairobi today as the royal visit begins

Queen Camilla, King Charles III, Kenya’s President William Ruto, and First Lady Rachel Ruto pose during a ceremonial welcome at State House in Nairobi today as the royal visit begins

Queen Camilla and King Charles III are greeted by President William Ruto in Nairobi today

Queen Camilla and King Charles III are greeted by President William Ruto in Nairobi today

King Charles III arrives for the ceremonial welcome at State House in Nairobi today

King Charles III arrives for the ceremonial welcome at State House in Nairobi today

King Charles III is hosted by Kenya's President William Ruto at State House in Nairobi today

King Charles III is hosted by Kenya’s President William Ruto at State House in Nairobi today

King Charles III walks with Kenya's President William Ruto at State House in Nairobi today

King Charles III walks with Kenya’s President William Ruto at State House in Nairobi today

Charles plants a tree while standing next to President Ruto at State House in Nairobi today

Charles plants a tree while standing next to President Ruto at State House in Nairobi today

King Charles III inspects the Guard of Honour as he is hosted in Nairobi today

King Charles III inspects the Guard of Honour as he is hosted in Nairobi today

Queen Camilla and First Lady Rachel Ruto at the ceremonial welcome in Nairobi, Kenya

Queen Camilla and First Lady Rachel Ruto at the ceremonial welcome in Nairobi, Kenya

King Charles III and Kenya's President William Ruto speak at the State House in Nairobi today

King Charles III and Kenya’s President William Ruto speak at the State House in Nairobi today

King Charles III walks past a guard of honour during the ceremonial welcome in Nairobi today

King Charles III walks past a guard of honour during the ceremonial welcome in Nairobi today

King Charles III is hosted by Kenya's President William Ruto at State House in Nairobi today

King Charles III is hosted by Kenya’s President William Ruto at State House in Nairobi today

King Charles is welcomed by the President of Kenya, William Ruto, in Nairobi today

King Charles is welcomed by the President of Kenya, William Ruto, in Nairobi today

King Charles III arrives for the ceremonial welcome at State House in Nairobi today

King Charles III arrives for the ceremonial welcome at State House in Nairobi today

Queen Camilla arrives today for a ceremonial welcome at State House in Nairobi, Kenya

Queen Camilla arrives today for a ceremonial welcome at State House in Nairobi, Kenya

King Charles III is hosted by Kenya's President William Ruto at State House in Nairobi today

King Charles III is hosted by Kenya’s President William Ruto at State House in Nairobi today

King Charles III inspects the Guard of Honour during the ceremonial welcome in Nairobi today

King Charles III inspects the Guard of Honour during the ceremonial welcome in Nairobi today

Queen Camilla and Kenya's First Lady Rachel Ruto during a bilateral meeting in Nairobi today

Queen Camilla and Kenya’s First Lady Rachel Ruto during a bilateral meeting in Nairobi today 

King Charles III is hosted by Kenya's President William Ruto at State House in Nairobi today

King Charles III is hosted by Kenya’s President William Ruto at State House in Nairobi today

King Charles III walks past a guard of honour during the ceremonial welcome in Nairobi today

Queen Camilla arrives today for a ceremonial welcome at State House in Nairobi, Kenya

Queen Camilla arrives today for a ceremonial welcome at State House in Nairobi, Kenya

King Charles III walks past a Guard of Honour during the ceremonial welcome in Nairobi today

King Charles III walks past a Guard of Honour during the ceremonial welcome in Nairobi today

Queen Camilla arrives today for a ceremonial welcome at State House in Nairobi, Kenya

Queen Camilla arrives today for a ceremonial welcome at State House in Nairobi, Kenya

King Charles III is hosted by Kenya's President William Ruto at State House in Nairobi today

King Charles III is hosted by Kenya’s President William Ruto at State House in Nairobi today

King Charles III walks past a Guard of Honour during the ceremonial welcome in Nairobi today

King Charles III walks past a Guard of Honour during the ceremonial welcome in Nairobi today

Queen Camilla arrives today for a ceremonial welcome at State House in Nairobi, Kenya

Queen Camilla arrives today for a ceremonial welcome at State House in Nairobi, Kenya

King Charles III arrives for the ceremonial welcome at State House in Nairobi today

King Charles III arrives for the ceremonial welcome at State House in Nairobi today

Kenya's President William Ruto and First Lady Rachel Ruto at State House in Nairobi today

Kenya’s President William Ruto and First Lady Rachel Ruto at State House in Nairobi today

They said: ‘The way His Majesty addresses the subject will be with the great diplomacy, humanity and humility he brings to all difficult subjects, just as he did on State Visits to France and Germany, with whom the UK’s relationships had been strained for different reasons.

‘He has a wonderful way with language and a deep personal engagement with all communities that can help heal historic wounds with warmth, understanding and utmost sensitivity.

‘Often it is about listening rather than talking. In many cases people just want to be heard – and for the wrongs of the past to be acknowledged at the highest levels. And it is right they are.

‘While it is the Kenyan Government’s wish that the focus of this visit will very much be on celebrating the present and building the future, a symbolic recognition of the past is an important step in renewing existing friendships and sharing ambitions ahead for our two great nations.’

Charles will also touch upon the issue during other engagements, which cannot be disclosed in advance for security reasons.

The King and Queen will undertake their State Visit to Kenya from today until November 3.

His deputy Private Secretary Chris Fitzgerald has already said the monarch will acknowledge ‘the more painful aspects of the United Kingdom and Kenya’s shared history’ – including the 1952 ‘Emergency’ or Mau Mau Revolt – as the country approaches its 60th anniversary of independence.

The Kenya Army band perform ahead of the arrival of Charles and Camilla in Nairobi today

The Kenya Army band perform ahead of the arrival of Charles and Camilla in Nairobi today 

The Guard of Honour lines up ahead of Charles arriving at the State House in Nairobi today

The Guard of Honour lines up ahead of Charles arriving at the State House in Nairobi today

The Kenya Army band perform ahead of the arrival of Charles and Camilla in Nairobi today

The Kenya Army band perform ahead of the arrival of Charles and Camilla in Nairobi today 

The Guard of Honour lines up ahead of Charles arriving at the State House in Nairobi today

The Guard of Honour lines up ahead of Charles arriving at the State House in Nairobi today 

Members of the Guard of Honour line up as national anthems are played in Nairobi today

Members of the Guard of Honour line up as national anthems are played in Nairobi today

Personnel in Kenya prepare for the arrival of Queen Camilla and King Charles III today

Personnel in Kenya prepare for the arrival of Queen Camilla and King Charles III today

Guard of Honour in Nairobi today

Guard of Honour in Nairobi today

Members of the Guard of Honour prepare for the arrival at the State House in Nairobi today

The Guard of Honour lines up ahead of Charles arriving at the State House in Nairobi today

The Guard of Honour lines up ahead of Charles arriving at the State House in Nairobi today

Members of the Guard of Honour prepare for the arrival at the State House in Nairobi today

Members of the Guard of Honour prepare for the arrival at the State House in Nairobi today

The Guard of Honour lines up ahead of Charles arriving at the State House in Nairobi today

The Guard of Honour lines up ahead of Charles arriving at the State House in Nairobi today

A member of the Guard of Honour looks on ahead of the arrival of King Charles III today

A member of the Guard of Honour looks on ahead of the arrival of King Charles III today

Personnel in Kenya prepare for the arrival of Queen Camilla and King Charles III today

Personnel in Kenya prepare for the arrival of Queen Camilla and King Charles III today

Members of the Guard of Honour prepare for the arrival at the State House in Nairobi today

Members of the Guard of Honour prepare for the arrival at the State House in Nairobi today

The Guard of Honour lines up ahead of Charles arriving at the State House in Nairobi today

The Guard of Honour lines up ahead of Charles arriving at the State House in Nairobi today

Members of the Guard of Honour prepare for the arrival at the State House in Nairobi today

Members of the Guard of Honour prepare for the arrival at the State House in Nairobi today

Personnel in Kenya prepare for the arrival of Queen Camilla and King Charles III today

Personnel in Kenya prepare for the arrival of Queen Camilla and King Charles III today

The British colonial presence in Kenya formally began in 1895 when white settlers were given huge tracts of rich farmland. Kenya eventually became a British colony in 1920.

In 1953, the British declared a State of Emergency after a spate of strikes and violent opposition led by the Mau Mau party, amid growing anger at the dispossession of Kenyan lands and lack of political rights.

The Kenya Human Rights Commission say 90,000 Kenyans were executed, tortured or maimed in Britain’s brutal crackdown of the rebellion.

The country finally secured independence in November 1963, while Queen Elizabeth was on the throne.

In 2013, the British Government made an historic statement of regret over the ‘torture and other forms of ill treatment’ perpetrated by the colonial administration and paid out £19.9 million to around 5,200 Kenyans for human rights abuses.

Kenyan campaigners continue to demand an apology, writing to Prince William last year asking for this and reparations for their ‘immense suffering under British rule’.

Giraffes graze on a tree in Nairobi National Park today on day one of the State Visit to Kenya

Giraffes graze on a tree in Nairobi National Park today on day one of the State Visit to Kenya

Two giraffes walk along a track beside a railway bridge at Nairobi National Park in Kenya today

Two giraffes walk along a track beside a railway bridge at Nairobi National Park in Kenya today

Giraffes walk along a track beside a railway bridge at Nairobi National Park in Kenya today

Giraffes walk along a track beside a railway bridge at Nairobi National Park in Kenya today

A man jumps over the red carpet as it is prepared at the Uhuru Gardens in Nairobi today

A man jumps over the red carpet as it is prepared at the Uhuru Gardens in Nairobi today

A Kenyan woman watches live coverage of King Charles III's visit in Nairobi today

A Kenyan woman watches live coverage of King Charles III’s visit in Nairobi today

Workers roll out the red carpet ahead of the royal arrival at the Uhuru Gardens in Nairobi today

Workers roll out the red carpet ahead of the royal arrival at the Uhuru Gardens in Nairobi today

Soldiers carry a table as they prepare for the royals at the Uhuru Gardens in Nairobi today

Soldiers carry a table as they prepare for the royals at the Uhuru Gardens in Nairobi today

The red carpet is prepared for the King and Queen at the Uhuru Gardens in Nairobi today

The red carpet is prepared for the King and Queen at the Uhuru Gardens in Nairobi today

As the Daily Mail reported earlier this month, the King will become the first member of the royal family to acknowledge Britain’s ‘mea culpa‘.

Since independence the two countries have enjoyed a warm relationship, however, and it is hoped that the State Visit will further that.

It is understood that it came at the request of Kenya’s President Ruto, who is keen to focus on their ‘shared future’.

Last week at a Buckingham Palace reception for the Kenyan diaspora in the UK, invitees were clearly excited and optimistic about the trip ahead.

A Nairobi City County worker carries a Union Jack while installing it on a street yesterday

A Nairobi City County worker carries a Union Jack while installing it on a street yesterday

Nairobi City County workers carry flags yesterday ahead of the King's visit to Kenya

Nairobi City County workers carry flags yesterday ahead of the King’s visit to Kenya

Nairobi council workers prepare to unload a truck with flags of Kenya and the UK yesterday

Nairobi council workers prepare to unload a truck with flags of Kenya and the UK yesterday

A van set to be part of the royals' convoy and decorated by Kenyan artists with symbolic designs representing the UK and Kenya is seen parked at a bus station in Nairobi last Friday

A van set to be part of the royals’ convoy and decorated by Kenyan artists with symbolic designs representing the UK and Kenya is seen parked at a bus station in Nairobi last Friday

Pedestrians walk past flags of Kenya and the UK as they install them in the streets yesterday

Pedestrians walk past flags of Kenya and the UK as they install them in the streets yesterday

A van set to be part of the royals' convoy is seen parked at a bus station in Nairobi last Friday

A van set to be part of the royals’ convoy is seen parked at a bus station in Nairobi last Friday

Human rights activists hold banners yesterday as they protest the King's visit to Nairobi

Human rights activists hold banners yesterday as they protest the King’s visit to Nairobi

Reverend Jundson Njoroge holds up the encased sword of Britain's last governor in Kenya, Malcolm McDonald, who at Kenya's independence in 1963 handed it to Jomo Kenyatta, Kenya's first PM as a gesture of handing over power, at All Saints Cathedral in Nairobi yesterday

Reverend Jundson Njoroge holds up the encased sword of Britain’s last governor in Kenya, Malcolm McDonald, who at Kenya’s independence in 1963 handed it to Jomo Kenyatta, Kenya’s first PM as a gesture of handing over power, at All Saints Cathedral in Nairobi yesterday

A volume of the Bible donated by King George VI at All Saints Cathedral in Nairobi yesterday

A volume of the Bible donated by King George VI at All Saints Cathedral in Nairobi yesterday

The pew bearing Britain's Royal Family's crest and reserved only for royalty stands at the front of the row where it was placed in 1917 at the foundation of the Anglican Church in Kenya

The pew bearing Britain’s Royal Family’s crest and reserved only for royalty stands at the front of the row where it was placed in 1917 at the foundation of the Anglican Church in Kenya

Barking and Dagenham Councillor Elizabeth Kangethe, who came to the UK 20 years ago and was named after Queen Elizabeth, told the Mail: ‘We have changed as countries since independence. 

‘Things happened that shouldn’t have, but life has moved on and we are glad that we are both moving together forwards.

‘There is a lot of affection between the two countries. I am very proud of the way His Majesty is embracing Kenya. He will receive a very warm welcome.’



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