Wednesday, 22 October 2014

A State Banquet for Singapore

State Visits happen twice a year in the United Kingdom and both of the tours this year have been firsts. Michael D Higgins became the first President of the Republic of Ireland to make a State Visit to the UK when he spent three days in London and Windsor in April 2014. And now the President of Singapore has become the first head of state from his country to make a State visit to the country.   But whether it is a first visit from that country or the next in a long line, all State events include a State Banquet and this week's tour is no exception.  The Queen entertained the presidential couple and guests with links to Singapore and the UK to a gala dinner at Buckingham Palace on day one of the tour.

The Queen toasts the President of Singapore during a banquet during the first full day of the State Visit 

The State Visit began with an official welcome at Horse Guards Parade.  It was made more high profile profile by the appearance of the Duchess of Cambridge for the first time since her second pregnancy was announced.  But while Kate may have started the event off, once she and William had introduced the guests of honour to the Queen they slipped into the background.

A photo posted by The British Monarchy (@the_british_monarchy) on

The Queen hosted a private lunch at Buckingham Palace and gave the president and his wife a tour of some of the Singaporean items in the Royal Collection.  

But the jewel in the crown of this day of engagements was a State Banquet at the Palace.

The official photo of the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh, President and Mrs Tan taken before the State Banquet at Buckingham Palace

The Queen hosted 170 guests at Buckingham Palace for the State Dinner which started with Dover Sole before chefs served up Windsor Castle pheasant and an ice cream bombe.

The meal was held in the ballroom. As well as the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh, the royal guests included the Earl and Countess of Wessex, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, the Duke and Duchess of Kent, Princess Alexandra and Princess Michael of Kent.

The royal guests joined 170 others at a State Banquet

There were speeches from the Queen and President Tan as well as toasts and warm words.  The State Visit will continue for another three days but this gala dinner is the highlight that everyone will remember.

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