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Queen Camilla and King Charles© Getty

Japan state visit details revealed - date, royals involved and Princess Kate's absence

King Charles and Queen Camilla will host Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako this month

Sharnaz Shahid
Deputy Online Editor
June 4, 2024
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Buckingham Palace has released new details of the Japan state visit, which will take place later this month. 

King Charles and Queen Camilla will host Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako of Japan from 25 to 27 June at Buckingham Palace, at the request of the government. 

King Charles and Queen Queen with Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako© Getty
The King and Queen will host Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako later this month

Prince William, and the Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh will also accompany the King and Queen during certain engagements. 

The state visit had originally been planned for 2020 but was postponed amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

In a new statement, the Palace announced: "Their Majesties The Emperor and Empress of Japan will pay a State Visit to the United Kingdom as guests of His Majesty The King from Tuesday 25th to Thursday 27th June 2024. 

"Their Majesties The King and Queen will host the State Visit at Buckingham Palace." 

Emperor Naruhito smiling in a suit and tie© Chesnot
Naruhito became Emperor of Japan in 2019

It has been confirmed that the Emperor and Empress of Japan will arrive at Stansted Airport on 22 June, three days prior to the state visit. 

Their Majesties will be greeted by His Excellency Mr Hajime Hayashi, Ambassador of Japan. The Viscount Brookeborough KG, Lord-in-Waiting, will greet Their Majesties on behalf of the King. 

Before the state visit begins, the Emperor will undertake a private schedule of engagements, including visits to Japan House and the Thames Barrier. 

Princess Kate and Prince William in their coronation outfits waving from Buckingham Palace's balcony© Max Mumby/Indigo
The Princess of Wales will not take part in the state visit

On the first day of the official visit, the Prince of Wales - who has been taking care of Princess Kate and their three children amid the Princess' cancer treatment - will greet the Emperor and Empress of Japan, at their hotel. 

Prince William, 41, will travel with the couple to the Horse Guards Parade, where Their Majesties will receive a Ceremonial Welcome. 

The King and Queen will formally welcome the Emperor and Empress at the Royal Pavilion on Horse Guards Parade. Presentations will be made, the Guard of Honour will give a Royal Salute and the Japanese National Anthem will be played. 

The Emperor, accompanied by King Charles, will inspect the Guard of Honour, formed of the 1st Battalion Welsh Guards with the Band of the Welsh Guards. Afterwards, the Emperor and Empress will join the King and Queen, and Prince William, in a carriage procession along The Mall to Buckingham Palace, where they will be met by a second Guard of Honour formed of the 1st Battalion Welsh Guards. 

Following lunch at Buckingham Palace, the royals will view a special exhibition in the Picture Gallery of items from the Royal Collection relating to Japan before they visit Westminster Abbey, where the Emperor will lay a wreath at the Grave of the Unknown Warrior. 

In the evening, King Charles, accompanied by Queen Camilla and other members of the royal family, will give a State Banquet at Buckingham Palace. 

What else is on the itinerary?

Other visits on the itinerary include The Francis Crick Institute, the UK’s flagship biomedical research centre, the Young V&A and the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew. There will also be a banquet at the Guildhall given by the Lord Mayor and City of London Corporation. 

Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako were supposed to visit in 2020 but the visit was postponed amid the COVID-19 pandemic.© Getty
Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako were supposed to visit in 2020 but the visit was postponed amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Aside from London, the Emperor will travel to Windsor to privately visit St. George's Chapel at Windsor Castle, to lay a wreath on the tomb of Queen Elizabeth II. On their final day in the UK, the Emperor and Empress will also visit Oxford for a private programme of engagements including a visit to the colleges where Their Majesties studied. 

Who is Emperor Naruhito?

Born on 23 February 1960, Emperor Naruhito is the current Emperor of Japan and the oldest child of Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko. He became heir apparent to the Chrysanthemum Throne when he was 29 following the death of his grandfather, Emperor Shōwa. 

At the age of four, Naruhito was enrolled in an elite Japanese school, graduating in 1982 with a degree in history; the ruler credited his fascination with the subject to his discovery of an ancient roadway on palace grounds during his youth. He later studied at Oxford and went on to meet many members of European royal families. During a party for Spain's Infanta Elena in 1986, he met Masako Owada. 

Meet Empress Masako

Born as Masako Owada on 9 December 1963, Masako became the Empress of Japan due to her marriage to Emperor Naruhito, who ascended the throne in 2019. Masako was born to a senior diplomat and former president of the International Court of Justice and was mostly raised in Moscow and New York City. 

Empress Masuko in a blue dress waving© KAZUHIRO NOGI
Empress Masako was mostly raised in Moscow and New York

After her education, Masako started working at the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, being one of only 28 of 800 applicants to pass the entrance exams. At a party for Spain's Infanta Elena in November 1986, she met Prince Naruhito before their marriage in 1993. Masako sadly suffered a miscarriage in 1999, before giving birth to daughter Aiko in 2001.


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