The King and Queen made a grand entrance at the South Korean state banquet on Tuesday evening, where the monarch referenced K-Pop culture in his speech.
Charles, 75, and Camilla, 76, were joined by the Prince and Princess of Wales, the Duchess of Edinburgh, and the Princess Royal as they hosted President South Korea’s President Yoon Suk Yeol and his wife Kim Keon Hee for the white-tie dinner.
It marked a rare tiara moment for the royal ladies with an array of glittering jewels from the vaults on display. Queen Camilla wore the late Queen Elizabeth II’s Burmese Ruby tiara for the first time with a red velvet Fiona Clare gown.
Meanwhile, the Princess of Wales debuted a new tiara from the royal vaults – the Strathmore Rose tiara – which once belonged to the late Queen Mother and the late Queen’s diamond pendant earrings.
Kate chose a white Jenny Packham gown with gold embroidery for the banquet, accessorising with a pair of matching arm gloves. She also displayed the Elizabeth II Royal Family Order and the Grand Cross Victorian Order sash and star.
The King wore a white tie with decorations and a full set of miniature medals, as well as the Garter Star and the Thistle Star, which used to belong to his grandmother, the Queen Mother.
He also sported the Grand Order of Mugunghwa – the highest national order awarded by South Korea – which was presented to him by President Yoon Suk Yeol at the exchange of gifts on Tuesday at Buckingham Palace.
Around 171 guests were in attendance at the banquet in the Palace’s opulent ballroom.
Guests including K-pop stars Blackpink – made up of band members Jenni Kim, Jisoo Kim, Lisa Manobal and Rose Park – and Birmingham City footballer Cho So-Hyun dined on a menu of warm tartlet of soft poached egg and spinach puree, breast of Windsor pheasant with croquette of celeriac and calvados sauce and salad, with a mango ice cream bombe for dessert.
King Charles’s Speech
In his speech, the King praised Korea’s younger generation for their environmentalism.
“I applaud Jennie, Jisoo, Lisa and Rosé, better known collectively as BLACKPINK, for their role in bringing the message of environmental sustainability to a global audience as Ambassadors for the U.K.’s Presidency of COP 26, and later as advocates for the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals,” he said. “I can only admire how they can prioritise these vital issues, as well as being global superstars. Sadly, when I was in Seoul all those years ago, I am not sure I developed much of what might be called the Gangnam Style!”
Ahead of the banquet, the King and Queen continued the late Queen’s tradition of personally inspecting the table on Tuesday afternoon to make sure everything was in order.
Charles’s CIIIR cypher has been added to the delicate glasses – six at each setting – and side plates of the 1953 Coronation Set, replacing the late Queen’s EIIR cypher.
Glasses on the top section of the horseshoe-shaped table – where the King, Queen, Prince and Princess of Wales, the president, and first lady Kim Keon Hee were seated – featured the updated glasses, but the rest of the glassware has yet to be rebranded in honour of the King’s reign.
The in-house Palace florists created displays of vibrant purple, red and pink blooms and foliage from Windsor Home Park and the Orchid Garden at the glasshouses in Windsor.
After the banquet, the flowers will be donated to Floral Angels, a charity of which Camilla is patron, based at New Covent Garden Flower Market.
The flowers will then be delivered to hospices, elderly care homes and shelters.
Pink sugar-crafted centrepieces, representing the Hibiscus Syriacus – the national flower of the Republic of Korea – were presented alongside petit fours.
Footage of the delicate pink floral decorations being handmade in the Palace kitchens was shared on the royal family’s social media account.
“The Kitchens have been busy putting finishing touches to dishes that will be served at tonight’s State Banquet,” the post said.
It comes after a busy day of engagements for the royal family, with Prince William and Kate greeting and accompanying the South Korean leader and his wife from their hotel to Whitehall.
The King and Queen were present for the ceremonial welcome on the Horse Guards Parade, with Charles and President Yoon inspecting a Guard of Honour, formed by the F Company Scots Guard.
The royals and their guests then travelled back to Buckingham Palace in a traditional carriage procession, with the King seated with the Korean president in the Australian state coach.
After a private lunch, the King and Queen were joined by the Prince and Princess of Wales and the Duchess of Edinburgh as President Yoon and Mrs. Kim viewed a special exhibition in the palace’s Picture Gallery of items from the Royal Collection relating to the Republic of Korea.