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Royal family to gather in strength for Xi

By ZHANG CHUNYAN and WANG MINGJIE in London (China Daily Europe) Updated: 2015-10-16 00:22

President Xi Jinping and first lady Peng Liyuan will meet three generations of the British royal family during Xi's state visit next week, the Chinese ambassador to the United Kingdom said in London on Thursday.

Queen Elizabeth, the Duke of Edinburgh, the Prince of Wales, the Duke of Cambridge and other royal family members will meet Xi during his visit from Oct 19 to 23, Liu Xiaoming told a news conference.

The ambassador said that a state visit is accorded the highest-level reception in the UK.

He said said a welcoming ceremony, a state banquet hosted by the queen, a banquet in the City of London and a 103-gun royal salute will be staged for the president. The salute will be performed by 41 guns in Green Park and 62 guns at the Tower of London.

Laura King, senior communications officer at Buckingham Palace, told China Daily, "The royal kitchen may showcase native products on the (state banquet) menu, with many fresh ingredients being sourced from the queen's estates."

Royal family to gather in strength for Xi

The State Banquet will be held in the Ballroom of the Buckingham Palace in London on the first night of President Xi Jinping's State Visit.[Photo by Zhang Chunyan/chinadaily.com.cn]

The menu traditionally includes a fish course, a main meat course, desserts and fresh fruit, she said.

"The royal chef is responsible for managing a team of more than 20 chefs who will cater for the banquet," King added.

Liu said Xi will deliver a speech to the British Parliament. In addition to official talks with Prime Minister David Cameron, the president will be joined by Cameron at several events in London and during his visit to the northern city of Manchester.

Xi and Peng will also visit Cameron and his wife Samantha at Chequers, the prime minister's country residence in Buckinghamshire that has hosted foreign dignitaries since becoming an official retreat for prime ministers in 1921.

China attaches great importance to the state visit, Liu said.

"During previous overseas visits, the president usually toured a number of countries on one trip. But this time ... President Xi's state visit will take him to only one country - the UK.

"All these factors are pointing to a super state visit."

Buckingham Palace also disclosed more details about the royal welcome planned for Xi.

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

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