Toasting Trump, Queen Elizabeth lays out state banquet welcome

 Toasting Trump, Queen Elizabeth lays out state banquet welcome

By Alistair Smout and Steve Holland

LONDON (Reuters) - A four-course meal, more than 2,000 pieces of silver-gilt cutlery and a toast to the queen: Donald Trump will enjoy all the trappings of a state banquet when the U.S. president is received by Queen Elizabeth on Monday.

While this is the first time Trump and his wife Melania have experienced a royal British banquet, the queen is used to such occasions: it is the 113th time Queen Elizabeth has hosted a state visit.

State visit invitations are extended by the government, but the queen acts as host.

After being greeted at Buckingham Palace with a cannon salute and marching Guards band, Trump had a private lunch with the monarch and tea with her son Prince Charles.

Elizabeth will give a speech and a toast, and Trump will also be expected to say a few words ahead of the banquet.

Then the meal begins: a steamed fillet of halibut with watercress mousse followed by a saddle of Windsor lamb and then strawberry sable with lemon verbena cream and a selection of assorted fresh fruits.

The meal is served on the silver-gilt "Grand Service", originally commissioned by George IV when he was Prince of Wales in 1806. It consists of over 4,000 pieces for dining, including dinner plates and 107 candelabra.

Buckingham Palace says the final build of the State Banquet table starts around five days before the arrival of the visiting head of state, and that every detail of the meal is checked and approved by Queen Elizabeth.

Flower displays are in shades of summer pink and comprise of sweet peas, mixed peonies, sweet Avalanche roses, stock and larkspur. Each of the napkins is folded into a Dutch bonnet by a person titled Yeoman of the China and Glass Pantry.

Trump joins Barack Obama and George W. Bush as the only U.S. presidents to have official state visits to Britain with Queen Elizabeth. She has met all 13 presidents in her reign except Lyndon Johnson.

Trump was widely seen to have broken royal protocol when he failed to bow when he met the queen in 2018, and then walked in front of her as they inspected a guard.

And Trump may be well advised to keep his remarks brief to avoid the mild embarrassment suffered by his predecessor.

During his state banquet in 2011, Obama spoke over the British national anthem after musicians struck up during a pause in his toast, and then raised his glass to the queen at the wrong moment.

(Reporting by Alistair Smout; Editing by Angus MacSwan/Guy Faulconbridge)

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Updated Date: Jun 04, 2019 02:08:43 IST