Chinese President Xi Jinping and first lady Peng Liyuan will visit the United Kingdom next week in a state visit accompanied by plenty of pomp and circumstance.

A state banquet will be hosted by the Queen in the palace ballroom to welcome the Chinese delegation. A horseshoe-shaped table will be extravagantly decked out with more than 100 candles in silver-gilt candelabra, along with some wholesome fruit and floral arrangements, which will be inspected personally by the Queen ahead of the dinner, reports China Daily.

However, the menu of the state banquet, which is usually approved by the Queen in advance and catered to by more than 20 chefs, is proving to be slightly problematic.

xi and queen
Queen Elizabeth II (left) and Xi Jinping (right). Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Xi and Peng have declined the proposed starter consisting of seasonal Turbot and crab, given their preference for cured or smoked fish. Moreover, it appears they would prefer to bring their own drinking water rather than consume what’s provided, reports the Daily Mail.

buckingham palace queen
Buckingham Palace. Photo: Leonard Bentley, via Flickr.

During the visit from October 20 to 23, the president and his wife will be greeted with a 103-gun royal salute in addition to the state banquet. They will stay at Buckingham Palace, meet three generations of the British royal family, and Xi will give a speech to the British parliament, said Chinese Ambassador to the UK Liu Xiaoming in London, according to China Daily.

Next week’s visit comes a decade after the last state visit by Xi’s predecessor Hu Jintao in 2005. In March this year, the Duke of Cambridge paid an official visit to China on behalf of the Queen’s government.

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