K-pop royalty BLACKPINK attended the State Banquet at Buckingham Palace, where they were named Members of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) by King Charles III.
The special gala was hosted by King Charles III in honor of South Korea’s President Yoon Suk Yeol and First Lady Kim Keon Hee’s state visit to the United Kingdom.
They were joined by Birmingham City soccer player Cho So-hyun and all four members of the all-female K-pop group BLACKPINK, Jennie, Ji-soo, Lisa, and Rosé.
Royal couple Prince William and Kate Middleton also attended the event, where they were seen greeting the South Korean presidential couple at their hotel in London on behalf of the King.
King Charles mentioned all four members of the group in his speech, in acknowledgment of their efforts as advocates for the planet.
“It is especially inspiring to see Korea’s younger generation embrace the cause,” the King said in his speech.
He continued, “I applaud Jennie, Jisoo, Lisa, and Rosé, better known collectively as BLACKPINK, for their role in bringing the message of environmental sustainability to a global audience as Ambassadors for the U.K.’s Presidency of COP 26, and later as advocates for the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals.”
“I can only admire how they can prioritize these vital issues, as well as being global superstars,” He added.
“Sadly, when I was in Seoul all those years ago, I am not sure I developed much of what might be called the Gangnam Style!,” Charles quipped, referring to the 2012 megahit K-pop song, Psy’s Gangnam Style.
The artists were spotted visibly surprised and delighted, as they made glances at one another from separate seats, in reaction to the praises of the King.
BLACKPINK react to being honoured during a speech by King Charles III for the Korean State Banquet at Buckingham Palace, via Sky News. pic.twitter.com/OYSfEOIqtm— Pop Base (@PopBase) November 21, 2023
The following day, the members returned to the palace, together with South Korea’s president and first lady, for a significant ceremony.
Upon their arrival, the British monarch also paid tribute to their visitors from Korea as the military band of the 1st Battalion Welsh Guards played one of their songs, DDU-DDU-DDU, on the palace forecourt during the changing of the guard.
“On Wednesdays, we play Blackpink,” read the caption of the video of the band’s performance uploaded on the Royal Family’s social media pages, in context with a popular quote from the American teen movie, Mean Girls.
On behalf of the British Government to raise awareness of climate change activism at the COP26 Summit in Glasgow in January 2021, King Charles gave each member special honorary medals as the new Members of the Order of the British Empire (MBE).
According to People, BLACKPINK received the awards during a private investiture on Wednesday in the 1844 Room of the Buckingham Palace which was “made on the recommendation of the U.K. government following their vocal support for the campaign to highlight climate change.”
The performers received the awards and a few comments from the King himself, saying, “I hope I shall be able to see you perform live at some point.”
They were also appointed by the United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres as global ambassadors for the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.