K-pop stars Blackpink get MBE from King Charles for climate advocacy

Following their COP26 roles, the band were appointed by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres as ambassadors for the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

By AFP/Reuters

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Photo: AFP
Photo: AFP

Published: Wed 22 Nov 2023, 9:40 PM

The four megastar members of K-pop girl group Blackpink were given one of Britain's most prestigious honours on Wednesday by King Charles III, recognising their work as environmental advocates.

The South Korean sensations received honorary MBEs (Members of the Order of the British Empire) from the British monarch, which reward outstanding achievement or service to the community.

South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol and First Lady Kim Keon Hee -- on a state visit to Britain -- looked on as Roseanne Park (Rosé), Jennie Kim, Jisoo Kim and Lalisa Manoban (Lisa) were handed the honours at a Buckingham Palace ceremony.

The K-pop quartet -- and first couple of South Korea -- were back at the palace just hours after attending a lavish state banquet held there for Yoon and Kim on Tuesday night.

Announcing the MBEs, the palace said Blackpink were honoured for its members' work as advocates for the COP26 climate summit in 2021.

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"Through this role, the band encouraged millions of young people to engage with the global UN climate change conference, held in Glasgow, and the topic of climate action," the palace said in a statement.

"The MBEs, awarded on the recommendation of the UK Government, were presented at an Investiture this morning in the 1844 Room at Buckingham Palace," it added.

The quartet – Jennie, Jisoo, Lisa and Rose – chatted, laughed and took photographs with the British monarch as he presented the medals.

"It's amazing you're still talking to each other after all these years," King Charles jokingly said to the band at the ceremony.

"I hope I shall be able to see you perform live at some point".

The band, whose four members have tens of millions of followers on social media, released a series of videos in 2021 aimed at encouraging young people to learn more about climate change.

Organisers say it resulted in significantly increased engagement with the UK-hosted summit by young audiences.

Charles is a lifelong environmentalist, who spoke at COP26 and will deliver a speech at the opening of the COP28 climate conference in the UAE starting next week.

Following their COP26 roles, Blackpink, who first emerged out of South Korea's wildly popular K-pop scene in 2016, were appointed by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres as ambassadors for the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Since their debut in 2016, Blackpink has become one of the most successful girl groups in the world, breaking records such as becoming the most subscribed to music artists on YouTube.

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