China's stylish first lady: A look at Peng Liyuan

Long before her husband's accession to China's leadership, Peng Liyuan was famous in her own right as a star singer. The elegant 52-year-old soprano has been compared to Carla Bruni-Sarkozy and is 57 on Forbes' list of the world's most powerful women. She has travelled around the world, first as an entertainer visiting cities like Vienna, Tokyo and New York and then with President Xi Jinping.


During her singing career Peng Liyuan was known as the Peony Fairy

Peng Liyuan, who was known by the nickname Peony Fairy in her home country, employed all the glamour acquired during her long career this week as a guest of the Queen during the couple's state visit to Britain. Madame Peng held her own against the British royal family's style stars during a day of engagements on Tuesday.

For the banquet held in Buckingham Palace, the first lady had picked out a midnight blue high-necked silk gown cinched at the waist with a belt.

Madame Peng has looked sophisticated and at ease during the Chinese state visit

Finished off with pearl and diamond drop earrings and brooch, the look was a sophisticated choice that compared favourably with the glittering jewels worn by the Duchess of Cambridge and the monarch.

The Duchess, née Kate Middleton, was resplendent in the Lotus Flower Tiara and a red custom-made Jenny Packham dress, while the monarch was regal in the Modern Sapphire Tiara.

The Chinese president and his wife are visiting Britain for four days

Earlier in the day Madame Peng was again camera-ready in a white suit for the splendid ceremonial welcome in Horse Guards Parade as she and her husband travelled in the Diamond Jubilee Stage Coach.

Nowadays, her career has taken a back seat to her husband's position and she only makes the occasional stage appearance. Instead she is focused on charity work with a role as a World Health Organisation goodwill ambassador on tuberculosis and HIV/Aids.