The Queen officially welcomed the Preisdent of China, Xi Jinping, to the UK earlier today at Horse Guards Parade, as he begins his State Visit.
Joined by The Duke of Edinburgh, Her Majesty greeted the Chinese Head of State, after Prince Charles and Camilla met with him and his wife at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel.
There, Charles and The Duchess of Cornwall spoke to the President and his wife, Peng Liyuan, through an interpreter. Although relations with Chinese leaders have sometimes been fraught with The Prince of Wales, because he considers the Dalai Lama a close personal friend (China do not acknowledge Tibet as a free state), the TV camera and photographer seem to show a relaxed conversation between the two.
Arriving in a State Coach, 103 guns saluted the foreign Head of State as he arrived at Horse Guards Parade.
The Queen personally greeted the Chinese couple, then introduced them to the Prime Minister and Home Secretary amongst other important guests.
Xi Jinping was treated to a Royal Salute from a guard of honour, First Battalion Grenadier Guards, and joined Prince Philip to inspect the guard.
Hundreds lined the Mall with Union and Chinese flags, reported to have been supplied by the Chinese Embassy, Falun Gong demonstrators and China supporters are Free Tibet activists were also out in force, causing something of a commotion in the capital as the welcome was underway.
Following the official welcome, the two Heads of State and their partners rode back to Buckingham Palace, where Her Majesty will host them as guests.
Lunch, attended by Charles and Camilla was served, then The Queen and President exchanged gifts, as is customary. The Queen gifted a collection of Shakespeare sonnets, while Madame Peng received a pair of Royal Crown Derby candlesticks.
Xi Pinjing also got a pair of silver framed photographs of his hosts, The Queen and the Duke.
In return, the President gave The Queen and Duke two of his wife’s albums, amongst other things. Mrs Peng is a well-known singer in the Chinese Republic.
Later that afternoon, the President gave a speech in the House of Commons, speaking of being impressed at the friendly relationship between the two countries. He then met with David Cameron and Opposition Leader Jeremy Corbyn. It is thought Corbyn raised the issue of Human Rights violations in the republic.
Jinping then met with Prince Charles and Camilla again, to have tea at Clarence House. This is also a tradition for incoming Heads of State. The Prince of Wales’ harpist, Anne Denholm, performed.
Prince William met the President at Buckingham Palace afterwards.
— Clarence House (@ClarenceHouse) October 20, 2015
This evening, a State Banquet will be held in the President’s honour. It is almost certain that William and Catherine, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, will be attending the white-tie and tiara event.