Inside Buckingham Palace where King Charles will host first banquet

King Charles hosts Cop27 reception at Buckingham Palace

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President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa, accompanied by Dr Tshepo Motsepe, will visit the UK for a State Visit on Tuesday. King Charles and Queen Consort Camilla will formally welcome the President and host a State Banquet at Buckingham Palace.

Buckingham Palace was used for official State Visits throughout the Queen’s reign, and Charles was often in attendance as Prince of Wales.

But President Ramaphosa’s visit will mark Charles’ first State Visit as the host, so he will likely want to pull out all the stops.

Buckingham Palace has hosted some grand banquets over the years, and often the visiting head of state takes a seat next to the monarch at the head of the table.

A few years ago an exhibition converted the palace’s ballroom into a state banquet so visitors could see the traditional layout for themselves.

Guests will also likely get to tour the rest of the grand palace which boasts an incredible 775 rooms.

Buckingham Palace has 19 impressive State Rooms in addition to 52 royal and guest bedrooms.

There are also 188 bedrooms just for palace staff, 78 bathrooms and 92 offices.

The State Rooms of Buckingham Palace include the Music Room, the Blue and White Drawing Rooms, the Picture Gallery and the Throne Room.

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Heads of state from abroad often stay in the Belgian Suite, a suite of elegant rooms, during their official visits to the UK.

There are other rooms such as the 1844 Room which was designed for Tsar Nicholas I of Russia’s state visit in the same year.

Buckingham Palace also has a famous balcony which generations of royals have used to wave to the crowds of London from.

The late Queen Elizabeth II last appeared on the balcony for her Platinum Jubilee finale celebrations in June 2022.

Buckingham Palace is currently undergoing extensive renovations and is benefitting from a temporary uplift in Sovereign Grant funding.

First purchased by King George III for his wife Queen Charlotte in the 18th Century, Buckingham Palace remains a working royal residence today.

Garden parties and receptions are held at the residence throughout the year by members of the Royal Family.

Buckingham Palace has also been the backdrop of royal wedding receptions like Prince William and Kate, Princess of Wales’ in 2011.

But it is also a family home where the Queen and Prince Philip resided much of the time after their marriage.

The Royal Family website explains: “Whilst Buckingham Palace is seen as the administrative hub of the monarchy, it is also very much a family home, in addition to holding The Queen’s Gallery and the Royal Mews.

“The Queen gave birth to Prince Charles and Prince Andrew at the Palace, and to this day notice of royal births and deaths are still attached to the front railings for members of the public to read.”

Thousands gathered outside the palace following the death of Queen Elizabeth II earlier this month, and Charles arrived the day after his mother’s death as King.

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