King Charles hosts lavish state banquet for Japan's Emperor Naruhito at Buckingham Palace

25 June 2024, 20:16 | Updated: 25 June 2024, 23:35

The King has hosted a lavish state banquet for the emperor and empress of Japan at Buckingham Palace on the first day of their state visit.

Golden cutlery and a menu including poached Scottish langoustines and Cornish turbot welcomed guests in the ballroom.

Dessert was ice cream with a peach sorbet insert on compressed peaches, according to Majesty Magazine.

A string quartet from the Royal College of Music also performed.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, Lib Dem leader Sir Ed Davey and the governor of the Bank of England were among guests, while Prince William, Prince Edward and Andrew Lloyd Webber were also there.

"Our governments are working together to provide a stable world for future generations," the King said in his speech.

"Supporting all these shared endeavours are the enduring ties between our people that transcend geography - and that does not just mean how much we enjoy tea and talking about the weather," the monarch joked.

In his speech, Emperor Naruhito paid tribute to the late Queen - who first issued the invitation.

The emperor is said to be fond of the UK and studied at Oxford in the early 1980s - even going fly fishing with the King at Balmoral during that time.

Tuesday night's state dinner was the first showing of the King's new Family Order, a badge worn by female royals to signify their importance within the family.

The Queen wore the diamond-encased miniature portrait on her left shoulder, above one of Elizabeth II.

Princess Anne was unable to take part in the dinner as she continues to recover from head injuries after reportedly being injured by a horse.

Japan's emperor is in the UK for a three-day state visit that began on Tuesday with a ceremony on Horse Guards Parade in London.

The King and the emperor made use of a pavilion that shielded them from the sun as temperatures in London neared 30C (86F).

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There was a guard of honour and a 41-gun salute, and the Queen later accompanied Empress Masako in a carriage - with the Japanese royal wearing a face mask because of a horse hair allergy.

The royals and their visitors later viewed Japanese-related items in the Royal Collection and had a tour of Westminster Abbey.

The state visit was meant to take place in spring 2020 but was postponed due to the pandemic.

Unusually, it coincides with an election campaign, meaning elements such as a Downing Street trip and a speech at Westminster have been scrubbed.