The Queen is set to host a state banquet for King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia of Spain later this week. The evening will feature a lavish spread at Buckingham Palace, with the table prepared three days in advance – but are Prince William and Kate on the glittering guest list? Royal watchers are hoping that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, both 35, will make an appearance at the black-tie affair, although no confirmation has been given by the palace.
What exactly happens at a state banquet?
If Kate does attend, it will mark her second time at a state banquet hosted by the Queen. Prince George and Princess Charlotte's mum made her debut in October 2015, when she helped welcome China's President Xi Jinping to the UK. For Kate's exciting royal milestone, she wore a red evening gown by her favourite go-to designer Jenny Packham. Kate was paying tribute to the president's home country as red is not only the colour of China's flag but an important colour in their culture, symbolising good fortune and joy.
Kate attended her first state banquet in 2015
Kate and Letizia's twinning style compared
The Duchess completed her regal look with the Papyrus/Lotus Flower tiara which she donned at an annual diplomatic reception in 2013. She had only been pictured wearing a tiara twice in public before – the other occasion being her 2011 wedding at Westminster Abbey when she wore the Cartier Halo tiara.
The upcoming banquet for the Spanish royals will be held on Wednesday evening at Buckingham Palace. The Queen and King Felipe will both make speeches at the start of the meal, and Prince Philip is expected to accompany his wife. As for other senior members of the royal family, it's not yet confirmed who will attend.
The Queen welcomed China's President Xi Jinping to the UK
King Felipe and Queen Letizia have a host of engagements arranged for their two-day trip. The couple will receive a formal ceremonial welcome at Horse Guards Parade on Wednesday, and enjoy lunch at Buckingham Palace with the Queen and Prince Philip, followed by afternoon tea with Prince Charles and Camilla. On Thursday, the Spanish royals will visit Westminster Abbey, accompanied by Prince Harry. This will mark Harry's first involvement in a UK state visit, signalling younger royals taking on more royal duties on behalf of the Queen.