State Dinner for Italy's President Carlo Ciampi
Buckingham Palace, March 15, 2005
The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh gave a State Banquet in honour of The President of the Italian Republic and Signora Ciampi, at which The Prince of Wales, The Duke of York, The Princess Royal and Rear Admiral Timothy Laurence, The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, The Duke of Kent, and Prince and Princess Michael of Kent were present.
Among those receiving a special invitation
were "Mr. Colin Firth and Ms. Livia Giuggioli." Too bad, Colin has yet
to be invested as a Commendatore (Knight Commander) in L'Ordine della
Stella della Solidarietà Italiana or Order of the Star of
Italian Solidarity, an honorific originally established in 1947 to
recognize the achievements of Italians and foreigners who played a
distinguished role in the reconstruction of Italy after World War
II. Colin's name was included among those announced by President
Ciampi on January 7, 2005. It would have been smashing to see Colin's
white tie and tails adorned with this:
Perhaps that ceremony is still on the agenda for the president's visit.
The Queen observed during her banquet speech
that the British were enthusiastic
admirers of Italian culture, fashion and food. She especially noted
the generations of British archaeological efforts as well as those to
save the city of
Venice from sinking.
Despite her praise for Italian food, the Queen laid on a very British banquet. The distinguished guests dined on chicken and tomato soup, poached fillet of sea bass, saddle of lamb, new potatoes, carrots, broad beans, green and yellow baby squash, and salad, followed by vanilla and chocolate terrine, and dessert fruits.
According to the Press Association's court reporter Peter Archer, "she may actually have a liking for spaghetti bolognaise, but itis potentially too messy to eat in public and the Queen likes to treat her guests to traditional British fare."
The Queen toasted her VIP Italian guests
with Bollinger, Grande
Annee 1996 champagne. Other wines served were La Ina, Fino;
Puligny-Montrachet, 1er Cru Le Clavaillon, Domaine Leflaive 1998;
Allegrini, La Poja 1999; and Fonseca 1970.
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