King Charles III delighted guests at Buckingham Palace by giving a special nod to iconic Japanese cultural symbols during a state banquet honoring Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako of Japan. This event marked the first day of the Japanese royals' three-day visit to the United Kingdom.

The banquet, held in the grandeur of Buckingham Palace, saw King Charles reminiscing about his longstanding friendship with Emperor Naruhito and making light-hearted references to Hello Kitty and Pokémon, much to the amusement of the attendees. The British monarch's speech underscored the deep cultural ties and mutual respect between the two nations.

"It has been a pleasure to learn of the British stories behind certain Japanese cultural icons," King Charles remarked, acknowledging the global influence of Japanese culture. He continued with a particularly charming tribute to Hello Kitty, the beloved cartoon character, by noting her connection to the U.K.

"Perhaps you would allow me to note one particular individual who turns 50 this year, raised in a London suburb with her twin sister, a self-made entrepreneur worth billions of dollars, and a UNICEF Children's Ambassador on top of all that. So I can only wish a very happy birthday to...Hello Kitty!" the King announced, drawing smiles and laughter from the guests.

King Charles also shared a personal anecdote about fly fishing with Emperor Naruhito during their younger days, cleverly segueing into a humorous reference to Pokémon. "I am only sorry to report that I haven't had any better luck with more recent attempts at fishing," he quipped. "The Pokémon phrase, 'Gotta catch 'em all,' may resonate with my grandchildren, but for me, it is, perhaps, aspirational."

Prince William, present to assist in welcoming the Japanese Emperor and Empress, was visibly amused by his father's jokes, further lightening the formal atmosphere of the banquet.

However, the event also highlighted the absence of two key royal family members. Princess Anne remains hospitalized following a horse-related accident at her Gatcombe Park estate. Reports indicate that she suffered a concussion and minor injuries and is currently recovering.

Additionally, the Princess of Wales, Kate Middleton, who recently participated in Trooping the Colour, continues to undergo treatment for cancer and has not yet returned to public duties. Her absence was noted, but the royal family continues to express optimism about her recovery.