20 strict rules that must always be followed at the Queen’s royal banquets

The Royal banquets at Buckingham Palace or Windsor Castle are traditionally held for dignitaries such as foreign heads of state and Britain's aristocracy.

They are often filled with the finest food and fascinating regal chit chat.

Last year the Queen hosted a white tie dinner at Buckingham Palace for controversial US president Donald Trump.

Other notable recent banquets include one held for Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2015 and to mark the 2017 visit of Spain's King Felipe VI.

But what does a banquet actually involve? Daily Star Online casts an eye at the Queen’s 20 surprising rules for the grand dinners including everything from cutlery position to what to wear.

1.  The Queen inspects the horseshoe-shaped table herself in the afternoon before the banquet, checking the preparations with the Master of the Household, Hello reports.

2.  Banquets take six months to prepare and  palace staff spend three days laying the table

3.  Napkins are folded in a Dutch bonnet shape and there are six glasses for each person –  water, a champagne toast, red and white wines, dessert wine and port

4.  Every place setting must be precisely 18 inches apart – and staff use measuring sticks to ensure this is the case

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5.  The Queen's footmen place every chair the same distance from the table and each glass is the same distance from the front edge of the table

6.  Nineteen stations are set up around the table by a page, footman, under butler and a wine butler

7. A traffic light system is used to co-ordinate the serving of courses.

8.  Detailed diagrams illustrate serving plans and a list of special instructions is used to set out any dietary requirements and requests for royals and other guests.

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9.  Palace staff are asked to place a special cushion on Prince Charles ' seat to ease his back pain and to give him a bowl of olive oil instead of butter for his bread

10 . The dress code is formal gowns, often white tie, and tiaras for the ladies as well as national dress

11.  The royal family wear sashes and badges if they have been given them in recognition of royal service.

12 Speeches are held before dinner and are followed by toasts and the playing of the national anthems.

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13.  A string orchestra normally plays grand tunes at the banquet.

14. Guests are advised to use the silverware on the outside of the table before working their way in

15.  The Queen is known to eat fast and a rule states when the monarch finishes her meal, everyone else must also put their knife and fork down.

16. It is customary for the guest of honour to sit to the right of the Queen, and she will speak to that person during the first course of the dinner. The monarch will then chat to the person on her left when the next course arrives

17.  Guests should also never leave an event unless special permission has been granted and it is advised to avoid any personal questions and to instead stick to small talk

18.  Rules state the Queen cannot be touched and nobody should shake her hand unless she offers it

19. Teacups must be held from the top of the handle with thumb and index finger and only sip from the same spot, to avoid multiple lipstick marks

20.  The end of the banquet see 12 pipers processing round the room

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