King presents K-pop band Blackpink with honorary MBEs at Buckingham Palace

Charles told the band he hoped to see them perform live sometime (Victoria Jones/PA)
Charles told the band he hoped to see them perform live sometime (Victoria Jones/PA)

The King has presented honorary MBEs to K-pop band Blackpink at Buckingham Palace in the presence of South Korea’s president and first lady.

The special investiture on Wednesday morning for Jennie Kim, Jisoo Kim, Lisa Manobal and Rose Park from South Korea’s biggest girl group was in recognition of the band’s role as advocates for the Cop26 Summit in Glasgow.

Charles told the group he was “so glad” to present the MBEs, adding that it was a “marvellous thing” to do so in the presence of South Korea’s President Yoon Suk Yeol and First Lady Kim Keon Hee during their state visit to the UK.

The King presents Blackpink with honorary MBEs
The MBEs were awarded on the recommendation of the UK Government (Victoria Jones/PA)

After presenting the MBEs, Charles discussed the band’s recent tour and joked to the group: “The great thing is that you’re still talking to each other after all these years of working together.”

Charles then told the K-pop band: “I hope I should be able to see you perform live at some point.”

Jennie Kim told Charles that receiving the MBE was “the most honourable thing for us”.

The band, who became the first Korean group to headline a major UK festival during the summer, then posed for photographs alongside Charles and the South Korean president and first lady in Buckingham Palace’s 1844 Room.

One of the band’s songs Ddu-Du, Ddu-Du, was played during the guard change at Buckingham Palace on Wednesday morning in honour of the South Korean president’s three-day state visit to the UK.

The Band of the Coldstream Guards also played the popular K-pop song, Gangnam Style, by Psy and the Korean folk song, Arirang, before the investiture took place.

In his state banquet speech on Tuesday, Charles paid tribute to Koreans’ interest in protecting the environment and singled out the K-pop group, who released their first album in 2016, for praise.

He told the guests: “I applaud Jennie, Jisoo, Lisa and Rose, better known collectively as Blackpink, for their role in bringing the message of environmental sustainability to a global audience as ambassadors for the UK’s presidency of Cop26, and later as advocates for the UN sustainable development goals.

“I can only admire how they can prioritise these vital issues, as well as being global superstars. 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!”

The MBEs were awarded on the recommendation of the UK Government – which first appointed Blackpink as Cop26 Advocates in January 2021.

In their role as advocates, Blackpink released a series of videos aimed at encouraging young people to learn more about climate change, which Buckingham Palace said resulted in significantly increased engagement with the summit from young audiences.

The band have subsequently been appointed by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres as global ambassadors for the UN’s sustainable development goals.