The State Banquet at Buckingham Palace in London last night (Picture: AFP)
If you had been invited to the King’s first state banquet last night, you would have been offered a menu including pheasant hunted on his Windsor estate.
The mains were either grilled bill (a delicate flat fish), or pheasant, with a dessert of vanilla parfait with caramelised apples.
To go alongside, wines offered included £75 Taylor’s Vintage Port 1983, a Château Feytit-Clinet and a Pomerol 2000.
Guests made their way to Buckingham Palace for the luxurious event, put on in honour of South African President Cyril Ramaphosa’s state visit to the UK.
Strictly star Johannes Radebe, originally from South Africa, was among the 163 guests at the white-tie dinner, joining broadcaster Zeinab Badawi, interior designer Kelly Hoppen and endurance swimmer Lewis Pugh.
The King hosted the banquet, saying ‘welcome’ in six languages spoken in South Africa to Mr Ramaphosa.
Naturally, the dinner was a very glam affair with the Princess of Wales wearing some of Elizabeth II’s jewels for the first state banquet in her new royal role.
Guests during the State Banquet at Buckingham Palace (Picture: Getty)
Catherine, Princess of Wales and President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa share a toast (Picture: Getty)
This was the first state banquet Charles hosted as King (Picture: AFP)
William and Kate attended the banquet last night (Picture: Newspix International)
Some suggested that with millions facing a cost of living crisis and struggling to put food on the table, it wasn’t the right time for such an ostentatious display of wealth.
But Work and Pensions Secretary Mel Stride said the visit will help boost trade.
He added that growing the economy is the prize which matters – ‘whether it’s pheasant on the plate or pie and mash’.
Mr Stride told LBC: ‘Right at the heart, actually, of our soft power, as it’s often called, is this ability to project our sense of history and pageant.’
Asked about the timing, with people struggling with the cost of living, Mr Stride said: ‘I would see it in terms of engaging with our most important trading partner on the continent of Africa, with whom we have very important ties of history and trade and economics.
‘What really we want to come out of this is a stronger and healthier UK economy – and that benefits everybody.
‘I think, whether it’s pheasant on the plate or pie and mash, I think if that can be achieved, then that’s the biggest prize.’
The King paid tribute to the late Queen and her ties with South Africa as he hosted the nation’s president, saying she admired ‘its people, its vibrancy, natural beauty and diversity’.
The monarch also mentioned the sometimes troubled past relationship between the two nations that ‘provoke profound sorrow’, but said ‘we must acknowledge the wrongs which have shaped our past if we are to unlock the power of our common future’.
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