The Queen has welcomed China’s President, Xi Jinping, to England with an extravagant banquet at Buckingham Palace.
The Duchess of Cambridge made her state dinner debut, complete with the Queen Mother’s tiara, at the top table next to Chinese president.
Seated in the most prominent position for a female member of the royal family, Catherine sat alongside the President as the Queen was positioned on the left – as is customary.
She was among 170 other guests who joined the Queen and Prince Phillip in the ceremony to commence the President’s four-day tip to England.
The visit is seen to be an important step forward in cementing economic ties between the two countries, with the Queen labelling it “a very special year for our bilateral relationship”.
The Queen’s speech, ahead of the meal, highlighted the newly cemented ties between the two countries and labelled it as a ‘milestone’, declaring the partnership expanding to ‘ambitious’ new heights.
‘We have much reason to celebrate the dynamic, growing economic relationship between our countries.
‘Your visit to the United Kingdom marks a milestone in this unprecedented year of co-operation and friendship between the United Kingdom and China, as we celebrate the ties between our two countries and prepare to take t hem to ambitious new heights.’
The Queen then commented on the President’s achievements, adding: ‘Rapid economic growth and development has transformed the lives of people across China and lifted hundreds of millions out of poverty: a huge and historic achievement with far reaching positive effects on people’s lives.’
The banquet was held just hours after Prince William addressed Chinese state TV, calling for an end to the importation of Ivory.
He lamented the previous generations’ interest in Ivory and called on China to help save endangered animals that are falling victim to an increase of demand for animal products.
The prince stated that if African elephants continued to be killed off at the current rate, then there would be none left on the planet for the future generations to witnesses.
“My rejection of ivory today is not a judgement of past generations. It is an acceptance of the world as I find it today and the world I want my children, George and Charlotte, to inherit,” he said.
“Likewise, those doctors and medical practitioners in China that are speaking out against the use of endangered species in medicine, they are not judging previous generations who did not have the facts that you do today.
“They are just accepting the truth that all credible evidence and scientific research shows, for example, that rhino horn cannot cure cancer.”