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Thursday, January 28, 2016


State Banquet in the Royal Ballroom, Buckingham Palace for the President of China Xi Jinping and his wife, Madame Peng Liyuan, October 15, 2015.  All were standing for the national anthems.
Thursdays on daily online magazine is usually reserved for a restaurant visit locally or abroad.  This week, we thought we'd step it up a bit with what might be considered the ultimate dining experience. Of course, we’re referring to the State Banquet for the President of China Xi Jinping and his wife, Madame Peng Liyuan, October 15, 2015.  (The Obamas were there for their banquet in 2011).
The Duchess toasts wearing that stunning red gown accessorized with the Lotus Flower tiara with China's President.
It's not everyday that there is a State Banquet in the 170-guest capacity of the Royal Ballroom in Buckingham Palace.   But because you and I were busy that day, the following is a recap of what we missed at the white tie soiree.  Also, don't feel bad at not being on the guest list as State Banquet invitations are rare as a London sunny day.  Even the Duchess of Cambridge was making her first official State Banquet at the Palace after almost five years of marriage.

Where to start?  Do we focus on what Catherine Middleton was wearing or go to the menu?

Speaking of the Duchess, she was wearing a full-length red gown (to honor the color of China’s flag) by haute couture designer Jenny Packham.  We noticed it was only the third time in her marriage to Prince William that Kate’s worn a tiara.

Thanks to the catty Brit media, Fleet Street reported Kate’s tiara, the fastidious lotus flower tiara (a.k.a. the Papyrus Tiara) and the chandelier earrings were borrowed from her mother-in-law for the evening.

Made of diamonds in fanned motifs crowned by floating diamond arches, the lotus flower tiara was owned by the Queen Mother, and it was later given to Princess Margaret.

"Don't tell me she borrowed my dancing slippers, too?!"

But we digress.  Let’s review the evening’s menu:

The Royal Ballroom is the largest of the 19 State Rooms at Buckingham Palace
The menu with wine
Fillet of West Coast turbot with lobster mousse
Or Roasted loin of Balmoral venison in a Madeira and truffle sauce

Braised red cabbage
Cocotte potatoes
Timbale of celeriac and butternut squash

Delice of dark chocolate mango and lime
Fruits de dessert

--Ridgeview Grosvenor 2009 Brut (English about $40 per bottle)
--Meursault 1er Cru Santenots 2007, Domaine Marquis d'Angerville (French about $90 per bottle).
--Chateau Haut-Brion 1989, Graves (French, red Bordeaux about $1,000 per bottle.
--Klein Constantia Vin de Constance 2008 (South Africa, sweet wine, about $50 per bottle).
--Warre's Vintage Port 1977 (Portugal, $125 per bottle).

We couldn’t help but notice Kate was seated in the most prominent position for a female member of the royal family after HRH.  The Duchess sat next to President Xi Jinping, who sat next to the Queen.  In viewing the seating chart please not it is positioned to view from behind the main table.

FYI: David Cameron is Prime Minister; Justin Welby is the Archbishop of Canterbury and George Osborne is the Chancellor of the Exchequer.
Live from Buckingham Palace, the musical programme spotlighted Countess of Wessex’s String Orchestra, which included many Chinese folk songs aimed to please China’s First Lady Madame Peng Liyuan, who is a famed folk singer in China.   Her music is downloadable from iTunes ( and for your listening pleasure on YouTube.

A one and a two:

The Countess did not conduct the orchestra.  It’s named after her as she is the wife of Edward, the youngest son of The Queen and the Duke of Edinburg.

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