Buckingham Palace officially announced this week that the President of South Korea will travel to Britain for a state visit this November. As we look forward to another state visit—and a glittering state banquet!—let’s look back at the previous two South Korean state visits to the United Kingdom.
Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh hosted the very first South Korean state visit to Britain, which took place in December 2004.
The Queen and the Duke officially welcomed President Roh Moo-hyun and his wife, Kwon Yang-sook, to Buckingham Palace on December 1.
Elizabeth wore a diamond brooch she’d had in her collection for decades for the welcome ceremony: the City of London Lily Brooch. She received the brooch as a gift when she was given the Freedom of the City of London on June 11, 1947.
On the evening of December 1, the Queen and the Duke hosted a state banquet for the presidential couple at Buckingham Palace.
The Queen wore a gold evening gown with the star and red sash of South Korea’s Grand Order of Mugunghwa, plus the royal family orders of her grandfather, King George V, and her grandfather, King George VI. President Roh wore the insignia of the Order of the Bath.
She echoed the red color of the order’s sash with her jewelry, wearing diamonds and rubies. She selected the Burmese Ruby Tiara, plus the ruby setting of her small diamond frame earrings, the Baring Ruby Necklace, the Dorset Bow Brooch, and the Cornwall Rose of York Bracelet.
Nine years later, another South Korean president made a state visit to London. President Park Geun-hye arrived at Buckingham Palace for an official welcome ceremony on November 5, 2013.
Both the president and the monarch wore sparkling brooches for the welcome ceremony. Queen Elizabeth II selected the Centenary Rose Brooch, which she had given to the late Queen Mother as a 100th birthday present in 2000.
For a state banquet that evening, President Park wore a gorgeous traditional hanbok with the insignia of the Order of the Bath, while the Queen wore a white evening gown with silver accessories and the insignia of South Korea’s Grand Order of Mugunghwa and her father’s and grandfather’s family orders.
For the 2013 state banquet, the Queen opted to wear all-diamond jewels. She paired the Girls of Great Britain & Ireland Tiara with the earrings and necklace from her pear-shaped diamond drop demi-parure.
The Queen also wore the baguette and brilliant bracelet given to her by her father, King George VI. And the most eye-catching part of her ensemble was, without a doubt, the central portion of the magnificent Cockade Brooch. The brooch, which is one of Queen Victoria’s Heirlooms of the Crown, was worn as the center of a three-part cloak clasp by Elizabeth’s great-grandmother, Queen Alexandra.