Pomp and the President: Xi Jinping in Britain

The state visit of China's President Xi Jinping to Britain is ushering in what the two countries are calling a “golden era” in U.K.-China ties. Xi is on a four-day visit to the U.K., with the focus on business deals, cultural exchange and – of course – pomp and ceremony.

  1. Arrival


    Amid high expectation and massive media interest, Chinese President Xi Jinping and his wife Peng Liyuan landed at London's Heathrow Airport on Oct. 19. 

    Photographer: Toby Melville/AFP via Getty Images

  2. Welcome to Britain

    Welcome to Britain

    U.K. Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond was among the official greeters at Heathrow, seen here escorting Peng Liyuan.

    Photographer: Toby Melville - WPA Pool/Getty Images

  3. Buckle Up

    Buckle Up

    On Tuesday, Oct. 20 it was down to business – the most important of which was some British pomp and ceremony. Before an honor gurard, a guardsman of the Household Cavalry checks a belt buckle ahead of the ceremonial welcome for Chinese President Xi Jinping and his wife Peng Liyuan on the first official day of their state visit.

    Photographer: Adrian Dennis/AFP via Getty Images

  4. Guard of Honour

    Guard of Honour

    Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, accompanies President Xi Jinping as they inspect a guard of honor held at Horse Guards Parade.

    Photographer: Rao Aimin/Xinhua via Getty Images

  5. Pleased to Meet You

    Pleased to Meet You

    Queen Elizabeth II introduces President Xi Jinping to British officials and dignitaries, including Prime Minister David Cameron, at the Royal Pavilion on Horse Guards Parade.

    Photographer: Alastair Grant/AFP via Getty Images

  6. Spectacle


    London was dressed in its finery for the ceremonial procession, and the crowds came out as well. Here, spectators wait for Queen Elizabeth II and President Xi to pass along The Mall.

    Photographer:  Yui Mok - WPA Pool/Getty Images

  7. Coach Class

    Coach Class

    The two heads of state appeared, traveling in the Diamond Jubilee State Coach.

    Photographer: Zhang Duo/Xinhua via Getty Images

  8. Window of Opportunity

    Window of Opportunity

    Photographers caught a glimpse of President Xi Jinping as the coach made its way to Buckingham Palace.

    Photographer:  Yui Mok - WPA Pool/Getty Images

  9. Free Tibet Protest

    Free Tibet Protest

    Not everyone was happy about Xi's visit. Three years ago China froze high-level ties with the U.K. after PM Cameron met the Dalai Lama. While that relationship has been repaired, protesters in London waved Tibetan flags to voice their disapproval of Xi's visit and China's policy on Tibet.

    Photographer: Jack Taylor/AFP via Getty Images

  10. Royal Collection

    Royal Collection

    Once at the palace, the Chinese first couple were given a personal, royal tour of a display of Chinese items from the Royal Collection.

  11. Palace of Westminster

    Palace of Westminster

    Tuesday afternoon saw Xi Jinping address "the mother of parliaments", members of the British House of Commons and House of Lords, at the Palace of Westminster. 

    Photographer: Dan Kitwood/AFP via Getty Images

  12. Cheers


    In the evening, Xi and Peng were guests of honor at a state banquet held at Buckingham Palace. Here, the Chinese president makes a toast with Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge.

    Photographer: Dominic Lipinski - WPA Pool /Getty Images

  13. Look Into my Eyes

    Look Into my Eyes

    The work continued on Wednesday, Oct. 21: Xi donned 3D glasses to view robotic equipment in the Hamlyn Centre for Medical Robotics during a visit to Imperial College London.

    Photographer: WPA Pool/Getty Images

  14. All The World’s a Stage

    All The World’s a Stage

    He also met Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, at a BAFTA presentation at Lancaster House.

    Photographer: WPA Pool/Getty Images