His Majesty The King visits Korean community in New Malden
His Majesty The King visited the Royal Borough of Kingston yesterday (8 November 2023) to spend time in New Malden and meet the area’s Korean community.
Large crowds gathered along New Malden High Street to give King Charles III a warm reception, pavements packed with people waving flags and cheering.
After spending time greeting the delighted crowd, which included local school children and families in traditional Korean dress, he was welcomed to New Malden Methodist Church. There he was met by the Mayor of Kingston, Cllr Diane White, Leader of Kingston Council Andreas Kirsch, the Korean Ambassador to the UK Yeocheol Yoon, New Malden’s Korean councillors and a number of other dignitaries.
During a tour around the church His Majesty met community, faith and cultural groups and signed the visitors book for a new exhibition marking the 140th anniversary of UK-Korea diplomatic relations organised by the Korean British Cultural Exchange. He was then treated to a short musical performance by the London Korean Hummingbird Choir accompanied by a dance performance by local Korean dancer and choreographer Su young Park. He also visited a stall showcasing a selection of Korean specialities prepared by Chef Hyungsoo Yim.
The King was accompanied by Justina Jang (KBCE) to local business Cake and Bing Soo Cafe where he was presented with an Earl Grey flavoured birthday cake with ‘Happy Birthday’ in Korean, by the owners, Mr Jongsoon Kim and Mrs Soyoun Jun. He met some young people from the local Korean community, before making his way across the road to the New Malden War Memorial to meet members of the local Royal British Legion branch and two Korean Veterans.
New Malden’s Korean community is one of the largest in Europe, the area is sometimes described as London’s ‘Koreatown’. Earlier this year the Royal Borough of Kingston became the first place in Europe to declare 22 November as 'Kimchi Day' to celebrate this special connection. People across the borough are immensely proud of its rich diversity and multiculturalism and the King’s visit was a wonderful way to enhance the celebrations of the central role Korean communities play in the cultural life of Kingston.