Photo: Queen Elizabeth II (center left) receives the birthday spread in Andong, Gyeongsangbuk-do Province. Credit: Yonhap.
Elizabeth II, queen of England and one of the defining figures of the 20th century, passed away on September 8. Her seven decade reign that began in 1952 covers nearly the entirety of the history of the Republic of Korea, whose government was established in 1948.
England and Korea established diplomatic relations in 1883. One hundred and sixteen years later in 1999, the queen became the first British head of state to visit Korea, upon the invitation of then-President Kim Dae-jung 김대중 대통령. Visiting the traditional village in Andong, Gyeongsangbuk-do Province 경상북도 안동, Elizabeth II celebrated her 73rd birthday with a spread featuring 47 dishes of Korea’s royal cuisine.
Roh Moo-hyun 노무현 was the first South Korean president to make a state visit to the United Kingdom, in 2004. The next South Korean state visit to Buckingham Palace was in 2013, when Park Geun-hye 박근혜 caused a scene by tripping over her dress while disembarking from her car as she arrived at a reception held by the mayor of London.