More than 50,000 visitors a year pass through Buckingham Palace
as guests at banquets, lunches, dinners, receptions and garden
parties. The Queen hosts state banquets on the first day of state
visits. These take place in the ballroom at Buckingham Palace or at
Guests at state banquets are first received by the Queen and the visiting Head of State in the Palace's Music Room, before joining a procession, led by the Lord Chamberlain and Lord Steward, to the ballroom. Before the meal commences, the Queen proposes a toast to her guest, who reciprocates. Throughout the meal there is a musical accompaniment, provided by a military orchestra in the gallery, and at the end of the meal, pipers process around the room. The guests then move to the state dining room and the blue drawing room for coffee.
The planning for a State Banquet begins six months before the event,. Preparations include polishing 1,000 glasses, folding around 170 napkins and creating 20 flower displays. The Queen takes a close interest in all aspects of planning.
For a list of all inbound state visits since 1952, click here