Tonight, Queen Elizabeth II hosted a state banquet at the Buckingham Palace in honour of US President Donald Trump, who is paying a State Visit to the UK with his wife and family. State Banquets are one of the most regal and formal events of British royal traditions with all the pomp and pageantry where the members of the royal family are dressed to their nines.
The banquet was hosted in the ballroom of the palace that was stunningly decorated by the palace staff. The setup and the work behind it amazing as every single detail got its own fair share of attention. You can see a pineapple on the banquet table that is a symbol of welcome and hospitality, but for tonight’s event, the pineapple may also represent both host and the guest as it is the symbol of the USA’s Hawaiian Islands.
Preparations for a State banquet begin well over a year in advance, but the final build of the State banquet table starts around five days ahead of the arrival of the visiting Head of State. The operational arm of Buckingham Palace, the Master of the Household’s department take the main bulk of the responsibility for ensuring the Banquet runs according to plan.
Priceless ornate candelabras and gilt place settings are meticulously cleaned and prepared for display. Every table features exquisite flower decorations, candelabra and 6 glasses per person for water, red and white wines, a dessert wine, port and a champagne toast. 19 stations are set up around the table, each manned by four staff – a page, footman, under butler and a wine butler. The staff around the tables use a traffic light system to coordinate the serving of courses. After the banqueting table is put together, and the decorative display is delivered, unpacked and positioned in place, the final touches are added which are personally seen by the Queen on the day of the banquet.
Over the last 24 hours, Palace Attendants have transformed the Ballroom at Buckingham Palace ahead of today’s state visit. Approximately 170 guests joined Her Majesty and President Trump for the State Banquet.
State Banquet was also attended by the Prince Charles of Wales, The Duchess of Cornwall, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, The Earl and Countess of Sophie, Princess Royal Anne, Prince and Princess Michael of Kent, delegates of both countries. US President Donald Trump along with the Queen and Prince Charles will mark the 75th anniversary of WWII’s Normandy Landings during the state visit.
The menu of the night included steamed fillet of halibut with watercress mousse, asparagus spears & chervil sauce Saddle of new season Windsor lamb with herb stuffing, spring vegetables, port sauce, Strawberry sable with lemon verbena cream, Assorted fresh fruits Coffee & petit fours.
Countess of Wessex’s String Orchestra played the music for the night.
Before the banquet, every attendee receives notes about where they will be sitting. In order to avoid uncomfortable situations and to ensure all are included in the conversation, one speaks to the person on the left for the first course, changing to the right for the second, and alternating for the remaining courses.
Since the announcement of the US state visit, the presence of Catherine and William was widely speculated. But as the Cambridge kids are on school break and I believe the family is spending time at their country residence Anmer Hall, the banquet will be the only event attended by both Duke and Duchess of Cambridge during the State Visit.
While William was walking alongside British Prime Minister Theresa May, Duchess walked into the ballroom with American Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin. A video of the royal procession.
For the state event, once again trusting her wedding designer, The Duchess of Cambridge chose a white gown Alexander McQueen gown for the night. Catherine was emitting British regalness and Princess vibes with typical Kate style having fitted bodice and floor-sweeping skirt.
The lace ruffled gown featured tiered panels, sweetheart neckline and cap sleeves with slightly off-shoulder detailing. The white colour made the new regalia of Duchess popped out showing the new status she recently acquired.
A closer look at the dress detailing.
She topped her outfit with Queen Mary’s Lover’s Knot Tiara. Once used to be Princess Diana of Wales’ favourite the tiara has become a sort of Duchess’ go-to tiara.
She chose another royal jewel The Queen Mother’s Sapphire and Diamond Fringe Earrings that she first wore in 2015 at the 100 Women in Hedge Fund Gala.
The highlight of today’s outfit is her GCVO regalia. She wore a blue, red and white sash of the Royal Victoria Order that was gifted by the Queen to Catherine in April this year at her 8th Wedding Anniversary.
She topped the sash with her Dame Grand Cross marking her appointment as a member of the Royal Victorian Order and the Royal Family Order of Queen Elizabeth II. Queen invested Duchess with the Insignia of a Dame Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order at the Buckingham Palace Garden Party last month.
A closer look at the Dame Grand Cross, Star and Royal Family Order.
The Duchess tied her sash with her Oak Leaf Acorn Brooch. She was carrying a white clutch and wore a four-stranded pearl bracelet.
June is going to be a pretty royal month for Cambridge Couple. They will attend the Trooping of the Colour on 8th June where Prince Louis is reported to make his first balcony appearance. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are expected to join the British Royal Family, Spanish King and Queen, Dutch King and Queen for the Order of Garter service on June 17th and at the Royal Ascot this month.
On 11th June William and Catherine will travel to Cumbria to celebrate the resilience and spirit of rural and farming communities in the region.