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State visits

State visits are formal visits to the UK by Heads of State from overseas, with the aim of strengthening Britain's relationships with other countries.

In a normal year Her Majesty The Queen officially receives two foreign heads of State as guests of the Court of St James's. These may be Foreign Monarchs, Presidents or Prime Ministers. The visits normally last a few days and start with an official reception at either Horse Guards in London, Windsor Castle or the Palace of Hollyrood House in Edinburgh. Invitations are sent on the advice of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Visits normally begin with a ceremonial welcome attended by The Queen and other senior members of the Royal Family. If the guest is staying at Buckingham Palace, the welcome takes place on Horse Guards Parade.

Once the Queen and other dignitaries have met the visitor they will normally inspect a Guard of Honour provided by one of the Battalions or Incremental Companies. The Captain of the Guard of Honour will always present the Guard in the language of the visitor.

After inspecting a guard of honour, the visiting President or monarch then travels with The Queen in a carriage back to Buckingham Palace with the Household Cavalry providing a Sovereign's Escort.

President Putin is invited to inspect the Guard of Honor
President Putin

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