US President Donald Trump and wife Melania Trump will get the full royal treatment tonight with a lavish state banquet at Buckingham Palace set to begin shortly.
A parade of tiara, jewels and dinner tuxedos have begun flowing into Buckingham Palace, where the couple, dressed for the occasion – he in tuxedo and the First Lady in white gown and gloves – have arrived to dine with the Queen and an array of senior royals.
Prince William and Kate Middleton were among the first to arrive for the no-flourishes-spared feast of lamb and strawberry sale after a day marking the US commander-in-chief’s first official state visit to Britain.
The presidential couple have marked the beginning of the feast with speeches from the Queen and Trump.
The banquet in the ornate Buckingham Palace ballroom comes after a day which has seen the Trumps receive gifts from her Majesty, and the attention of senior royals in private lunch and tea rendezvous.
Tonight, guests enjoyed a range of wines including Château Lafite Rothschild 1990, which is sold for up to £1,400 a bottle – the average monthly wage in the UK.
Trump’s children, including his close confidante Ivanka will rub shoulders tonight with sixteen members of the Windsors.
Among those in attendance at the lavish sit-down supper – include heir to the throne Prince of Wales, and his wife the Duchess of Cornwall.
Prime Minister Theresa May and US Ambassador Woody Johnson were also in attendance at the feast boycotted by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.
They are joined by an array of dignitaries and official figures, including the Bank of England’s Mark Carney, and US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.
Tonight’s State Banquet will see the Trumps dine on a menu of top-drawer British fare featuring Windsor Lamb and strawberry sable in the opulent Buckingham Palace Ballroom.
The menu is handpicked by the Queen herself, who is presented with four menu options proffered by her royal chefs.
Us President Donald Trump, First Lady Melania Trump and four of Mr Trump’s five children will be served and entree of steamed fillet of halibut with watercress mousse, asparagus spears and chervil sauce.
This will be followed by saddle of new season Windsor lamb, served with herb stuffing, spring vegetables and port sauce.
The evening of fine dining will be rounded off with a dessert of strawberry sable with lemon verbena cream – made of crisp biscuits, smooth pastry cream and fresh strawberries, and finished with a selection of assorted fresh fruits, coffee and delectable petit fours.
The royal pomp and ceremony is the final, contrasting chapter in a trademark Trump day, as the United States’ 45th president documented the first of his-three day tour with a series of tweets ricocheting from attacking London’s Mayor to admiration for his royal hosts.
He also claimed to have seen no protests after many Londoners promised to rally against Trump ahead of his arrival in the capital.
Mr Trump tweeted during a pause in his schedule before a state banquet at Buckingham Palace tonight to remark that the trip was “going really well” and the royal family had been “fantastic”.
He wrote: “London part of trip is going really well. The Queen and the entire Royal family have been fantastic. The relationship with the United Kingdom is very strong. Tremendous crowds of well wishers and people that love our Country.
“Haven’t seen any protests yet, but I’m sure the Fake News will be working hard to find them. Great love all around. Also, big Trade Deal is possible once U.K. gets rid of the shackles. Already starting to talk!
But protest is indeed forecast – with sign-bearing protesters pictured outside Buckingham Palace Gate ready to greet the presidential entourage ahead of tonight’s banquet, and crowds earlier seen bearing placards as far afield as Bristol and Newcastle.
The demonstrations are scale up tomorrow- with opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn confirmed by Labour as likely to be at the helm of the rallying cry.
He is expected to speak at a demo to be attended by thousands set to march through central London in protest at Trump’s visit and policies.
The rally will take the anti-Trump crowds from Trafalgar Square down Whitehall to Parliament Square – while the President holds talks with outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May in Downing Street.
Far from exchanging pleasantries, the president earlier launched a Twitter tirade against London’s Mayor Sadiq Khan , “fake news” and China.
Trump branded Mr Khan a “stone cold loser” even before he had set foot on the ground at Stansted Airport on Monday morning.
And shortly before the visit, Trump had had to deny calling the Duchess of Sussex “nasty” when confronted with comments Meghan Markle had made before the 2016 US elections saying she would leave the country if he won.
Asked at the White House on Sunday evening if he was willing to apologise to the royal family, or to clarify the comments made to The Sun’s political editor, Mr Trump denied making the comments, despite them having been recorded.
He said: “No, I made no bad comment. Thank you.”
But there was no sign of any awkwardness as Mr Trump was greeted by Meghan’s father-in-law the Prince of Wales shortly after midday today.
The US president and the First Lady chatted with Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall. Later Trump exchanged a handshake with the Queen, before Prince Harry joined the Trumps inside the palace for a private lunch, and the Queen made the customary royal gifts to the presidential couple.
The Trumps took tea at Clarence House with Charles and Camilla, ahead of the splendour of a state banquet back at Buckingham Palace tonight.