Her Majesty the Queen Elizabeth II has held a virtual Audience with His Excellency Mr Ioannis Raptakis, Ambassador of Greece in London.
The Audience was held on October 6 via video link from Windsor Castle to Buckingham Palace.
Ambassador Raptakis was accompanied by his esteemed wife, Her Excellency Georgia Soultanopoulou, Consul General of Greece in Constantinople, who was also received by the Her Majesty.
His Excellency Mr Ioannis Raptakis presented to the Queen the Letters of Recall of his predecessor and his own Letters of Credence as Ambassador from the Hellenic Republic to the Court of St James’s.
Ambassador Raptakis, accompanied by his wife Mrs Georgina Soultanopoulou, presented his credentials to Her Majesty The Queen pic.twitter.com/DbIv5PQKkV
— Greek Embassy UK (@GreeceinUK) October 8, 2021
An Audience is a one-to-one meeting with The Queen. Audiences happen regularly throughout Her Majesty's working week.
The majority of Audiences are for members of the diplomatic community, though Her Majesty also welcomes political, religious and military leaders, and people who have won prestigious cultural prizes.
Audiences generally last approximately twenty minutes, and the conversations which take place are entirely private. No written transcript or recording is made.
There are more than 170 Ambassadors and High Commissioners based in London at any given time and each one of them will have an Audience with The Queen shortly after taking up his or her role.
Audiences generally take place in State or semi-State rooms at Buckingham Palace, though occasionally they will happen in The Queen's private apartments.
The Ambassador or High Commissioner and his or her party are announced as they enter the room by the Marshall of the Diplomatic Corps. The Queen shakes everybody's hands and then the Audience begins.
At the start of the Audience, diplomats present their Letters of Credence (for Ambassadors) or Letters of High Commission (for High Commissioners). Also known as 'Credentials', this is a formal letter from the diplomat's Head of State to The Queen asking her to give 'credence' to the new Ambassador or High Commissioner. In other words, saying that Her Majesty can trust the new appointment to speak on behalf of his or her country.
The Queen and the visiting party will then speak informally for the rest of the Audience. Often the emphasis is on issues of the day in the Ambassador or High Commissioner's home country. The Queen is always briefed by her Private Secretaries ahead of her Audiences, so there can be much to discuss.
The Queen has continued to hold her regular diplomatic Audiences during the pandemic. They have taken place virtually, with Her Majesty speaking to the Ambassador of High Commissioner at Buckingham via video link from her residence at Windsor Castle.