Buckingham Palace preparations made ahead of Chinese state visit

Dozens of Union Jacks and Chinese flags have been erected along The Mall in preparation for the visit of China's President Mr Xi Jinping and his wife Peng Liyuan. The Communist leader and his wife, who will spend four days in the UK, will begin their visit on Tuesday.

Prince Charles, who has never visited China before, will welcome the couple at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in London on behalf of his mother the Queen. Charles will be joined by his wife the Duchess of Cornwall.

The group will travel to Horse Guards Parade where they will be formally welcomed by Her Majesty and Prince Philip. A state carriage procession along The Mall to Buckingham Palace will then take place.

The Chinese president and his wife will be taken to Buckingham Palace via a state carriage procession

The group will have lunch at the palace, where Mr Xi Jinping and his wife Madame Peng will stay for the duration of their trip, followed by a visit to the Houses of Parliament where the Chinese president will give an address. The couple will then head to Clarence House where they will have tea with Charles, 66, and Camilla, 68.

Later that evening a state banquet will be held at Buckingham Palace in honour of Mr Xi Jinping and Madame Peng, and it is expected that Prince William and Kate will also attend, while Charles and Camilla will not.

Tuesday evening's dinner will be Kate's first state banquet. The Duchess, who welcomed Princess Charlotte in May, is expected to dress to the nines. Kate will most likely wear a glamorous floor-length gown but the highlight of her look will no doubt be her tiara, which royal protocol dictates she should wear.

Prince William and Kate are expected to attend a state banquet held for their visitors on Tuesday evening

On Wednesday, William and Kate, both 33, will join the president and his wife at a creative industry event at Lancaster House, celebrating the cultural collaboration between the UK and China.

Earlier this year the Prince travelled to China. It was the Duke's first trip to the Asian state, and also marked the first time a senior royal had made the visit in nearly 30 years.

While there, William personally passed on an invite from the Queen to the president to visit the UK. Following his trip, the future King was praised for improving relations between the two countries.

During his trip to China this year, William spoke about the need to protect wildlife

He also took the opportunity to champion a cause close to his heart – the protection of endangered species. His message was heard, as China imposed a one-year ban on the import of ivory in February.

On Monday afternoon, one day before the president's arrival, William recorded a speech for Chinese television, in which he encouraged China to become world leaders in conservation and the protection of iconic species.

"Children born this year, like my daughter Charlotte, will see the last wild elephants and rhinos die before their 25th birthdays," said the Prince.

"The good news is that we are far from powerless in this struggle. We can turn the tide of extinction. By working together we can stand up to the great challenges our planet and our families will face in the generations to come."

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