King welcomes President of Gabon amid Commonwealth entry celebrations

Gabon is the 55th member of the Commonwealth, with a special flag-raising ceremony taking place in London on Monday to mark its addition.

Laura Elston
Monday 17 October 2022 19:16 BST
The King meets the President of Gabon Ali Bongo Ondimba at Buckingham Palace (Aaron Chown/PA)
The King meets the President of Gabon Ali Bongo Ondimba at Buckingham Palace (Aaron Chown/PA) (PA Wire)

The King has held an audience with the President of Gabon at Buckingham Palace, after the formal celebrations of the country’s entry into the Commonwealth.

Charles welcomed President Ali Bongo Ondimba to the 1844 room, greeting him warmly with a smile and a handshake.

Earlier in the day the flag of Gabon was raised at the Commonwealth Headquarters, Marlborough House, for the first time.

The special ceremony marked the West African country’s addition as a Commonwealth nation.

Gabon became the 55th member of the Commonwealth in June following approval at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (Chogm) in Kigali, Rwanda.

At Marlborough House, the president – a one-time funk singer who stepped into his father’s shoes to continue his family’s now 55-year rule – described it as an important day for his country.

“In a world full of uncertainties, mostly created by humanity’s excesses and greed, we believe strongly that the Commonwealth family of nations is a unique and varied community of countries that share common values and whose diversity represents a formidable melting pot of ideas and solutions,” the president said.

The King had travelled from Aberdeen to London for the afternoon audience, after meeting refugees from Ukraine, Syria and Afghanistan in Scotland earlier in the day.

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