18 September 2022, 14:15 | Updated: 18 September 2022, 14:33
King Charles III met Prime Minister Liz Truss as he arrived at Buckingham Palace ahead of the ‘reception of the century’ for 1,000 VIPs including world leaders and foreign royals this evening.
The new monarch smiled and waved at cheering well-wishers as he was driven through the palace gates in the state Rolls-Royce this afternoon.
Charles then held a reception with the Prime Minister in the 1844 Room at 12.15pm, before he and Camilla will tonight host hundreds of world leaders including US President Joe Biden, New Zealand’s prime minister Jacinda Adern and Canadian premier Justin Trudeau two senior members of the British royal family, ambassadors from almost all nations, and foreign royals including Japan’s Emperor Naruhito and the Kings and Queens from Holland, Norway and Spain.
Most dignitaries are also expected to view the Queen’s coffin in the ancient heart of Parliament after being given a VIP timeslot before arriving at Buckingham Palace around 6pm.
However, guests asked to wear lounge suits and morning dress rather than ball gowns and white tie as would be expected at a usual state event at the King’s London home.
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Mr Biden, who flew in late last night, said that the Queen “defined an era” after she reigned for a record-breaking 70 years. Australia’s anti-monarchy Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, who viewed the lying-in-state and met Charles yesterday, told Sky News Australia that the Queen was “a constant reassuring presence”.
There was also a private audience at Buckingham Palace for Ms Ardern, which like Australia and 12 other Commonwealth realms now counts Charles as its sovereign.
It is thought Prince Harry and his wife Meghan Markle received an invitation to the event, hosted by King Charles and the Queen Consort, earlier in the week.
But the couple are now unlikely to attend after officials at Buckingham Palace insisted the reception was for working royals only, it is understood.