It has been a challenging couple of weeks for the Queen, who is in the process of talks with Prince Harry and Meghan about their future with the royal family, confirming that they would be stepping back from their roles as full-time senior royals. However, it appears that Her Majesty is already looking to the future, as Buckingham Palace has announced a state visit from the Emperor and Empress of Japan.
Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako will be staying at Windsor Castle
The official statement released by the palace read: "Their Majesties the Emperor and Empress of Japan have accepted an invitation from Her Majesty The Queen to pay a State Visit to the United Kingdom in Spring 2020. Their Majesties the Emperor and Empress (Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako) will stay at Windsor Castle."
This will be the third time that the monarch has hosted State Visits from Japan, after His Majesty the Emperor Emeritus (Akihito) and Her Majesty the Empress Emerita (Michiko) made a State Visit to the UK in May 1998; and Emperor Showa (Hirohito) and Empress Kojun (Nagako) made a State Visit to the UK in October 1971. The Japanese royals have also visited the palace on other occasions, with Emperor Emeritus and Empress Emerita visiting once in 2007 for an evening at Buckingham Palace as part of three-day visit to the UK, and in 2012 to commemorate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. Meanwhile, the Queen and Prince Philip made a State Visit to Japan back in May 1975.
This will be the third time the UK has hosted Japan for the state visit
The upcoming visit is likely to be a welcome one following the Queen's recent summit in Sandringham, to discuss the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's future. Her Majesty released a statement following the discussion which read: "Today my family had very constructive discussions on the future of my grandson and his family. My family and I are entirely supportive of Harry and Meghan's desire to create a new life as a young family. Although we would have preferred them to remain full-time working Members of the Royal Family, we respect and understand their wish to live a more independent life as a family while remaining a valued part of my family."