Imperial Couple Welcomed by Japanese Nationals in London; Emperor, Empress Wave, Smile at Crowd

The Yomiuri Shimbun
The Emperor and Empress wave to a crowd as they arrive at their London accommodation Saturday evening.

LONDON — The Emperor and Empress were welcomed by Japanese nationals and others at their accommodation in London on Saturday evening local time.

The Imperial couple arrived in London on the same day from Stansted Airport on the outskirts of London, walking down the airstair of a government plane at about 5:50 p.m. At the airport, they shook hands with British government officials and local police officers with a smile before getting into a Bentley luxury car provided by the British royal family and heading to their accommodation in central London.

The Imperial couple arrived at their accommodation at about 7:10 p.m. and were welcomed near the entrance by about 40 people including Japanese nationals. The Emperor and Empress smiled and waved to the crowd, which was cheering for them and shouting such things as “Your Majesty” and “Empress Masako.”

“They gave us a very kind smile and looked well. I hope they enjoy their stay in Britain,” a 43-year-old company employee living in Britain said.

This is the Imperial couple’s second international goodwill visit since the Emperor was enthroned. Their first trip was to Indonesia in June last year. It is the first time since 1998 for an emperor and empress to visit the United Kingdom as state guests.

On Sunday, the Emperor was to meet Japanese residents and Britons with ties to Japan at his London accommodation. On Tuesday, when official events begin, the Imperial couple will attend a welcome ceremony at Horse Guards Parade, which is the headquarters for the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment in London, and a dinner hosted by King Charles III and Queen Camilla at Buckingham Palace. On Friday, the Emperor and Empress will visit Oxford University, where they once studied, and return to Japan the following day.