The metaphorical red carpet has been rolled out for China's president Mr Xi Jinping and his wife Peng Liyuan, who have arrived in London to kick-start their four-day tour of the UK. The politician and his wife were given a ceremonial welcome at Horse Guards Parade on Tuesday morning.
Her Majesty the Queen and Prince Philip greeted their visitors with the usual pomp and grandeur expected, while a 41-gun salute was held in nearby Green Park. Prime Minister David Cameron was also on hand to welcome the visitors.
The Queen, Prince Philip, Mr Xi Jinping and Peng Liyuan took part in a carriage procession along The Mall, where Union Jacks and Chinese flags had been positioned all the way to Buckingham Palace.
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Mr Xi Jinping was given a warm welcome by the Queen at Horse Guards Parade
Before the president and his wife carry out their first day of engagements, they were treated to lunch at the palace. After, Mr Xi Jinping will give an address to MPs and Lords at the Palace of Westminster.
Earlier that morning Prince Charles, who has never visited China before and is a known friend of the Dalai Lama, greeted the president at the Mandarin Oriental hotel in central London. He was accompanied by his wife the Duchess of Cornwall for the intimate gathering.
Her Majesty and the president travelled together in the Diamond Jubilee State Coach to Buckingham Palace
Charles and Camilla will meet up with Mr Xi Jinping and Peng Liyuan again in the afternoon to have tea at the royal couple's house, Clarence House.
Tuesday evening will present the highlight of the day – the state banquet at Buckingham Palace, which will be attended by the Queen and Prince Philip and most likely Prince William and Duchess Kate. Charles and Camilla, however, will not attend.
Mr Xi Jinping is being accompanied by his wife Peng Liyuan for the four-day visit
On Wednesday Mr Xi Jinping will attend a meeting with Mr Cameron at Downing Street, and the following night, will have dinner at the prime minister's country retreat Chequers in Buckinghamshire.
Mr Xi Jinping and his wife will travel to Manchester on Friday before they depart and travel back to China.
Prince Charles met the president earlier on Tuesday morning at the Mandarin Oriental hotel
The visit has been hailed by officials from both countries as the start of a "golden era" of relations. When Prince William was invited to China in February of this year, he was also widely praised for handling his tour with tact and diplomacy.