Kate Middleton's first state banquet: Duchess of Cambridge attends lavish bash with Chinese president Xi Jinping
The Duchess of Cambridge is attending her first state banquet - complete with a glittering tiara.
The Duchess joined the president, his wife Madame Peng Liyuan and more than 170 guests in the Palace ballroom for a sumptuous slap-up meal.
Kate, who is accompanying husband Prince William, paid tribute China's president Xi Jinping's home country by wearing a red gown.
Kate also chose to wear the delicate Lotus Flower Tiara for her first glittering sit down dinner in the UK in honour of a world leader.
Her sparkling, floor length bespoke red gown was by one of her favourite designers Jenny Packham.
She borrowed the tiara - also known as the Papyrus Tiara - from the Queen after first wearing it two years ago to a diplomatic reception in 2013.
Made of diamonds in fanned motifs crowned by floating diamond arches, the tiara was owned by the Queen Mother, who used to wear it low on her forehead, and was later given to Princess Margaret.
It is only the third time Kate has been seen in a tiara. She wore the Cartier Halo tiara for her wedding in 2011.
Four-and-a-half years after she became an HRH, Kate made her first appearance at what is considered a staple royal duty - dining in the opulent palace ballroom with 170 guests in honour of a visiting president.
Kate joined the Royal Procession into the Ballroom, following behind William who walked with Caroline Welby - the wife of the Archbishop of Canterbury.
Kate walked alongside Wang Huning, one of the Communist Party of China's top leaders.
She was seated in the most prominent position for a female member of the royal family after the Queen - on the President's right while the monarch, as is custom, sat on Mr Xi's left.
As the wife of the second in line to throne, Kate takes William's status when she accompanies him, so outranks blood princesses such as the Princess Royal, who was also present.
On Kate's right sat Mr Huning.
Guests at the lavish bash are dining on fillet of West Coast turbot and Balmoral venison.
The musical programme, played by the Countess of Wessex's String Orchestra, includes a number of Chinese folk songs - which are likely to be popular with Madame Peng - who is a famous folk singer in China.
Among the pieces is a medley entitled Chinese Folk Fantasy and a folk song called Xiao He Tang Shui. Other ensembles include the Beatles track Eleanor Rigby and Nobody Does It Better - the theme music from the 1977 Bond film The Spy Who Loved Me.
The Pipe programme includes the Sound of Sleat and the Caledonian Canal and is led by Pipe Major Martin MacDonald and performed by the 4th Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland and the Army School of Bagpipe Music and Highland Drumming.
Here is the menu in full:
- Fillet of West Coast turbot with lobster mousse
- 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
- Meursault 1er Cru Santenots 2007
- (Domaine Marquis d'Angerville)
- Chateau Haut-Brion 1989, Graves
- Klein Constantia Vin de Constance 2008
- Warre's Vintage Port 1977
Mr Xi's four-day trip is expected to set the seal on more than £30 billion of trade and investment deals.
But the Prime Minister is facing pressure to raise with the president concerns about China's human rights record, and the "dumping" of cheap steel - which is blamed for the loss of thousand of British steel jobs in the last few days.
Critics have warned that Britain will "rue the day'' it forged deeper ties with China and accused the Government of acting like a "panting puppy'' in its relations with the country.
But Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond insisted the move was in the national interest.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has raised China's human rights record and the impact of its exports on the UK steel industry in direct talks with the country's president.
Mr Corbyn held what the party described as "cordial and constructive" discussions with Xi Jinping at Buckingham Palace
Belfast Telegraph Digital