Royal family to gather in strength for Xi

Updated: 2015-10-16 00:22

By ZHANG CHUNYAN and WANG MINGJIE in London(China Daily Europe)

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Royal family to gather in strength for Xi

A general view of the Ballroom at the Buckingham Palace in London.[Photo by Zhang Chunyan/]

Related photos: Behind-the-scene look at Xi's Buckingham Palace welcome

He will be received by the queen at an official ceremony at the Royal Pavilion on Horse Guards Parade on the first day of the visit, before traveling to Buckingham Palace in a state carriage procession along The Mall.

The queen will host a private lunch for the president in the Blue Drawing Room at the palace, where they will be joined by other members of the royal family and the British and Chinese delegations, the palace said in a news release.

After the lunch, the queen and the president will exchange gifts privately in the White Drawing Room.

During a state visit it is customary for gifts to be exchanged on the first day as a symbol of goodwill between the two countries.

Afterward, the queen will invite Xi to view a special exhibition in the Picture Gallery of China-related items from the Royal Collection. On the first evening, she will also host the state banquet.

At the start of the banquet, the queen and the president will proceed to the palace ballroom along the East Gallery with other senior guests.

The queen and Xi will sit at the top of the horseshoe-shaped table.

More than 100 candles in silver-gilt candelabra will adorn the table, along with displays of seasonal fruit and floral arrangements in silver-gilt centerpieces, many from the reign of King George IV in the 19th century.

Two displays of ornamental precious silver, silver-gilt and gold vessels will also be on show in the ballroom — a tradition dating from many centuries and a sign of respect for the rank of the guest of honor.

The queen takes a great personal interest in preparations for a state banquet and the table setting. She will approve the menu beforehand and will preview the table and inspect the flowers on the night of the banquet.

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