President George Bush was tonight being wined and dined by the Queen at a Buckingham Palace state banquet.
Among the 170 guests invited were politicians, led by Prime Minister Tony Blair, and diplomats, including the ambassadors of Britain and America’s allies in the Iraq War, Kuwait and Italy.
Some 13 senior members of the Royal Family were due to be present, along with VIP Americans, Secretary of State Colin Powell and US National Security adviser Condoleezza Rice.
To be seated at the top table with the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh were President Bush and First Lady Laura Bush, the Prince of Wales, the Princess Royal, Mr and Mrs Powell, Mr Blair, Ms Rice, the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams, the Duchess of Norfolk and the Kuwaiti ambassador.
A high-profile British guest with business links to America is airline tycoon Sir Richard Branson.
On the state banquet menu, in French, is consommé with sorrel, roast halibut with herbs, breast of chicken with basil, roast potatoes, Savoy cabbage and salad, followed by vanilla praline and coffee ice cream.
Five wines, including vintage champagne, were being served.