As Duchess Kate Middleton stuns watchers of a royal event with her presence, she seems to press home her value to the crown. There was no shortage of media spotlighting her at her first state banquet on Tuesday evening, October 20, 2015, to honor Chinese President Xi Jinping, a guest of Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace.
According to E Online, the 33-year-old Duchess of Cambridge joined her husband Prince William and Queen Elizabeth II in welcoming Chinese President Xi Jinping and his wife Peng Liyuan to England at the state dinner. Since Middleton married into the royal family in 2011, this state dinner was her first, making the occasion even more momentous for her.
Duchess Kate came in a getup that “stuns,” a Jenny Packham red gown with capped sleeves and jewelry that included scintillating diamond-drop earrings and a lotus flower tiara lent to her by the queen. In her first official outing after giving birth to her second child, daughter Charlotte, six months ago, the duchess showed up well, wearing her brunette hair in a stylish updo.
The royal family members in attendance were the Queen and Prince Philip joined by Prince Andrew, Prince Edward, Princess Anne, along with Prince William and his wife. As the second most senior royal lady at the banquet, Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, was seated by the Queen next to President Xi.
Notably absent were Prince Charles and Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall. The two royals had treated President Xi Jinping and his wife to afternoon tea at Clarence House earlier.
Prior to the banquet, Xi was formally welcomed by the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh on Horse Guards Parade. Along the parade route, large crowds gathered to cheer, and many in attendance were British subjects of Chinese descent.
In Xi’s banquet speech, the Chinese president predicted the friendship between China and the United Kingdom reaching a “new height,” International Business Times reported. Asserting that the two countries shared the same goals and vision, Xi made special mention of their alliance during World War Two.
For her part, the Queen was equally gracious about the positive direction the two countries have taken in their relationship. International Business Times quoted her elaborating on what Xi’s visit meant to her.
“A defining moment in this very special year for our bilateral relationship. I am confident that it will serve to highlight the sincerity and warmth of our friendship and to strengthen relations between our countries for many years to come.”
As the first Chinese leader to visit Britain in 10 years, Xi’s presence is welcomed by British officials seeking ways to grow their economy. They see the visit as a positive Chinese response to U.K. business overtures, opening the door to a more robust trade relationship with Beijing, representing the world’s second largest economy.
Xi is in the hands of gracious hosts well versed in pomp and ceremony, followed by scribes that document all royal doings including the activities of Duchess Kate who “stuns” almost by rote.
The Chinese president’s schedule takes him to Downing Street on Wednesday, October 21, for a meeting with Prime Minister David Cameron, likely to discuss the Hinkley Point nuclear power station financed by Chinese investments. This controversial project involves the construction of two European Pressurised Reactors in Somerset.
By the time Xi’s four-day state visit is done, more than £30 billion worth of deals are expected to be signed between the U.K. and China, according to International Business Times.
Starting with a grand banquet for some 130 people at Buckingham Palace wherein Duchess Kate delightfully stuns with her fashion statement, President Xi and his wife are being treated with the same type of generous hospitality China is known for, all in the name of international diplomacy.
[Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images]