The first day of the Korean State Visit concluded with a State Banquet at Buckingham Palace last night, hosted by The King and Queen.
The Banquet saw members of the Royal Family up the glitz and glamour, donning new/old tiaras from the royal jewellery vaults, while the men looked dapper in white tie.
Following a ceremonial welcome at Horseguards Parade, and a lunch at the palace, the group were joined by some 200 guests for a feast in the Ballroom.
The evening’s menu included: Warm Tartlet of Soft Poached Egg and Spinach Puree; Breast of Windsor Pheasant with Croquette of Celeriac and Calvados Sauce and Salad; and Mango Ice Cream Bombe for dessert.
Wines included an English Camel Valley Special Reserve 2015; Montrachet 1er Cru Macharelles; Domaine François Carillon 2014; Château Mouton-Rothschild 1er Cru, Pauillac 1989; Château Lafaurie-Peyraguey; Sauternes 2001 and Fonseca 1985.
Menus are printed in French and usually reflect seasonal fare for the UK at the time, with a nod to the guest nation.
Two income state visits take place each year, usually at Easter at Windsor, and in October in London.
A few notes on the fashion of the evening. The Queen chose a red velvet evening dress made by Fiona Clare, alongside the sash and star of the Order of the Garter and Elizabeth II’s Royal Family Order. It is understood that Charles will have a Royal Family Order, which is a personal gift to female members of the family, but it is not ready – or perhaps not awarded – yet.
She paired it with Elizabeth II’s Burmese ruby tiara, which was created by Garrard and commissioned by the late Queen in 1973. The tiara features 96 rubies which were a wedding gift from Burma (modern-day Myanmar). The rubies represent protection from illness and evil and with the number representing the 96 diseases that can affect humans.
The Princess of Wales wore a white evening gown featuring gold embroidery from Jenny Packham, along with the sash and star of the Royal Victorian Order and Elizabeth II’s Royal Family Order.
She paired her outfit with a tiara that hasn’t been since the 1930s – the Strathmore Rose! The tiara was originally owned and worn by the Queen Mother, and – thanks to its creation date and the styles of the day – can be worn as a bandeau, too.
The Duchess of Edinburgh wore her bespoke cream Suzannah Crabb dress that she originally wore to the Coronation of King Charles III and Queen Camilla in May 2023. Sophie wore her aquamarine tiara which can also be worn as a necklace.
The Princess Royal wore a brooch that was originally gifted to her by The King to mark her marriage to Captain Mark Phillips in 1973; the event was also, unusually, held on Charles’ birthday that year. The brooch features two diamond tassels falling from a central cluster of diamonds, encased by five ribbon loops.
The brooch has been worn by worn by Princess Anne on multiple occasions, including on a trip to Paris in 1980 and for the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Dinner at Windsor Castle in 2002. Anne’s daughter, Zara Tindall, wore the brooch for The King’s Coronation.
Anne wore the same dress and bolero jacket that she wore for her 70th birthday portrait.
Another jewellery surprise came from The Duchess of Gloucester, also in attendance, wearing Princess Alice’s diamond bandeau with emeralds, thought to be a wedding gift from her husband in the 1920s. It is reflective of the art deco style, with the three central elements allowing the stones to be swapped out.
In his speech during the State Banquet, The King highlighted the ‘remarkable partnership’ between the UK and the Republic of Korea and how ‘it is a partnership in which close personal connections, fostered over many decades, have blossomed today into a real sense of affection, or jeong, between our societies at so many levels’.
Charles reflected on his last visit to South Korea in 1992 where he noted the country’s technological advancements were a ‘model of industrial efficiency’ and how it has ‘become the epitome of technological creativity today’.
His Majesty explained that the cultures between the UK and Korea ‘share a remarkable ability to captivate imaginations across the world, transforming a so-called soft power into a shared superpower’ and stated that ‘Korea has matched Danny Boyle with Bong Joon-ho, James Bond with Squid Game, and the Beatles’ “Let It Be” with BTS’s “Dynamite”‘.
Discussing how the Republic of Korea is ‘one of very few countries which ended the 20th century with more trees than at the century’s beginning’ showcases how the environment has not been forgotten in the country’s development, according to The King.
The Monarch proceeded to make a joke when discussing how Korea’s younger generation have embraced the cause, noting that he had not developed much of the what might be called ‘the Gangnam Style’.
He also spotlighted the incredible work of BLACKPINK ‘for their role in bringing the message of environmental sustainability to a global audience as Ambassadors for the U.K.’s Presidency of COP 26, and later as advocates for the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals’.
Charles added how he ‘can only admire how they can prioritise these vital issues, as well as being global superstars’.
The speech’s conclusion mentioned that both countries ‘strive towards a harmony between progress and preservation, between the past and the present, we can look to the future with great confidence as our peoples forge ever closer links’.