The emperors of Japan are on a state visit to the United Kingdom and on Tuesday night the traditional banquet took place at Buckingham Palace. Carlos III began and ended his speech in Japanese, according to the Telegraph, and Camila wore a tiara of great symbolism in the royal family and with the colors of Japan. There were references to Japanese animation figures in the speeches, such as Pokémon and Hello Kitty, and the menu included Cornish fish. The official trip of the emperors of Japan takes place between the 25th and 27th of June, however Naruhito and Masako arrived in the United Kingdom last Saturday the 22nd. Both the first days of this trip and the last are dedicated to private tasks.

Queen Camilla chose to wear the Burmese Rubies tiara, a special jewel for Queen Elizabeth II, and with colors that pay homage to the Japanese flag. In 1947, the then Crown Princess Elizabeth received 96 rubies as a wedding gift from the people of Burma, but it was only in 1973 that she turned to the Garrard house, crown jeweler for decades, to create this tiara from the stones. It is one of the very few tiaras that the Queen had made for herself. “The 96 rubies are a symbolic gesture, as rubies in Burmese culture protect against disease and evil, in this case they protect the wearer from the 96 diseases that can afflict humans”, explained the jeweler in a note cited by Town & Country magazine. “The rubies and diamonds are set in a series of rose-shaped motifs inspired by the Tudor rose, the heraldic symbol of Great Britain.” The queen had already worn this jewel last year at the banquet held for the visit of the President of Korea.

Camila debuted a new family order of the King, a brooch with the photograph of Charles III that is used by female members to demonstrate their importance in the family. The queen also used a family order of Elizabeth II with the photograph of the previous monarch. The white embroidered silk crepe dress was created by Fiona Clare.


Empress Masako also wore a tiara with very special value. The imperial chrysanthemum tiara, the flower that is the symbol of the Japanese monarchy, is a piece of jewelry that only empresses have worn. The Duchess of Edinburgh, Sophie, opted for a dress in a luminous shade of green and the Lotus Flower tiara. A jewel that also references the East and which has been talked about in recent years, when Kate Middleton wore it to a banquet in honor of the President of China.

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The menu featured poached Scottish langoustines in a cucumber nest and basil mousse and chilled tomato consumé for starters. Cornish turbot fillet with herb butter wrapped in lettuce and sour cream sauce. Guests also enjoyed a selection of summer vegetables, creamed potato and spinach croquettes, green bean salad and quail eggs. The dessert served was an “ice cream bomb”, composed of peach ice cream over compressed peaches, details T&C.

The soundtrack for the dinner was provided by a string quartet from the Royal College of Music. The decoration included arrangements of flowers collected at home, that is, roses from the gardens of Buckingham and Windsor Castle, and also maple trees that will be known in Japan.

Hours before the banquet, the British royal house released a video with the preparations and the supervision of Kings Carlos and Camilla.

Carlos III gave a well-informed speech and spoke of “the deep roots” that unite the two countries and the importance of a stable future for future generations. “It is supporting all these shared efforts that the lasting bonds between our people that transcend geography lie, and that doesn’t just mean how much we enjoy tea and talking about the weather”, he joked. There were also references to Japanese popular culture.

The King used the story to build a bridge with Japanese culture. He recalled that when Naruhito was based in the United Kingdom and was a guest of the royal family at Balmoral Castle, they fished together. “I’m just sorry to report that I haven’t had better luck with my most recent fishing attempts,” he said. “The Pokémon phrase ‘I have to catch them all’ may resonate better with my grandchildren, but for me it is, perhaps, an aspiration”, concluded the King.

Before the banquet, the sovereign also mentioned in a speech another Japanese icon well known throughout the world: Hello Kitty. “It was a pleasure to learn about the British stories behind certain Japanese cultural icons,” said Carlos III, quoted in T&C magazine. “Perhaps I may mention one figure in particular who turns fifty this year, raised in a London suburb with her twin sister, an entrepreneur worth billions of dollars and, above all, a UNICEF ambassador for children. So just May I wish… Hello Kitty a happy birthday!”

Emperor Naruhito also spoke. He took the opportunity to pay tribute to Queen Elizabeth II and mentioned the period in the 1980s when he lived in the United Kingdom to study at Oxford and was welcomed by the sovereign. It was, in fact, the previous monarch who invited him to this state visit, which was scheduled for 2020, but was postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The Emperor mentioned the “sad period during which the friendly relationship between the two countries suffered”, also highlighting that currently “bilateral relations have never been so robust”.

In addition to the kings and emperors, other members of the royal family such as Prince William, the Dukes of Edinburgh and the Dukes of Gloucester were at this banquet. Princess Anne was not present as she was hospitalized recovering from an accident she suffered last Sunday. As for the Princess of Wales, she is making a slow and cautious return to public life, as she continues her chemotherapy treatments.

The banquet had around 150 guests and some familiar faces were seen, such as Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and the leader of the opposition, Keir Starmer, both accompanied by their wives, and candidates for the general election on 4 July. The two politicians will meet again on Wednesday night to face each other in a debate. Musician Andrew Lloyd Webber was also among the guests, as was British YouTuber Chris Broad, who uses the name “Abroad in Japan”; and chef Miho Sato, who grew up in Japan and is currently a sushi chef at the top Japanese restaurant in London, The Aubrey.

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