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Despite her advancing years the Queen is still as involved as ever in official events, playing a key role in the lavish agenda organised to mark the first Saudi state visit in two decades
Photo: © Getty Images
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In the evening the monarch hosted a white-tie halal banquet in Buckingham Palace's imposing ballroom in honour of the Middle Eastern guest
Photo: © Getty Images

The Queen heads a splendid official display for Saudi king

31 OCTOBER 2007

Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip headed up a lavish show of hospitality on Tuesday to welcome King Abdullah, the first Saudi monarch to make a state visit in 20 years.

Despite both now being in their ninth decade, the indomitable pair played a high profile role in a day full of pomp and circumstance.

The Duke of Edinburgh accompanied the Saudi monarch as he reviewed a Guard of Honour in central London, and then handed hosting duties over to the Queen who rode back to Buckingham Palace with the king in a state coach.

An exchange of personal gifts was also on the agenda, with the British sovereign offering her Middle Eastern counterpart - who is in the UK on a three-day visit - framed photographs of the royal family. In turn, he presented her with a book on the 1938 visit to Saudi Arabia by her aunt, Princess Alice.

The day's finale was a sumptuous white-tie banquet featuring a halal menu and attended by 170 guests, including the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall.

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