Gabonese President Ali Bongo Ondimba has flown to London where he will attend the coronation of his « friend » King Charles III on Saturday

President Ali Bongo Ondimba at the Léon Mba International Airport in Libreville on Wednesday, May 3, 2023, minutes before his departure for London © Facebook/Presidency of Gabon

On Wednesday 3 May, President Ali Bongo Ondimba flew to London. On Saturday, he is due to attend the official coronation ceremony of King Charles III to whom he is close.

On his departure from the airport, the head of state was greeted by several officials, including Prime Minister Alain-Claude Bilie-By-Nze, Vice-President Christiane Rose Ossouka Raponda and Interior Minister Lambert-Noël Matha.

The coronation ceremony of King Charles will take place this Saturday 6 May in Westminster Abbey. It is due to start at 11am local time (10am GMT) and will last about two hours under the direction of the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, spiritual leader of the Anglican Church.

It will take place in front of an audience limited to two thousand people (foreign leaders, crowned heads, elected officials, civil society).

First African head of state to be received by Charles III in October 2022

Among them, the Gabonese president Ali Bongo Ondimba. He was already among the hand-picked guests to attend the funeral of Charles III’s mother, Queen Elizabeth II, last September (see our article).

During one of his trips to London, a few weeks later, in October, Ali Bongo Ondimba was the first African head of state to be received face-to-face by King Charles III (see our article).

President Ali Bongo Ondimba and King Charles are long-time friends. They share the same fight for the defence of the environment, in particular biodiversity.

Old friends

Since June 2022, Gabon has been a member of the great English-speaking family of the Commowealth, whose head is none other than… King Charles III.

Gabon is considered to be an increasingly strategic country on the international scene, particularly because of its importance on the climate issue. It is the most carbon positive country in the world.

For several years, President Ali Bongo Ondimba has preferred London to Paris. The London capital is considered more welcoming than its French counterpart. It was in London that the eldest son of the presidential couple, Noureddin Bongo Valentin, studied and built up an important network of relations.