Musician/composer Liz Chi Yen Liew was amongst the 170 guests invited to the prestigious State Banquet at Buckingham Palace last week, hosted by The Queen. This was held in honour of the President of the Republic of Singapore, Tony Tan Keng Yam and his wife on the first state visit a Singaporean President has made to the United Kingdom.
As well as President Tan’s extended family, the Banquet was attended by Prince Philip, Prince Andrew, Prince Edward and Sophie, The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, Princess Alexandra and The Duke of Kent. Other guests included the Prime Minister David Cameron, Her Excellency Ms. Foo Chi Hsia (High Commissioner for the Republic of Singapore), dignitaries and those with a business or cultural background.
Liew, a Londoner with Singaporean parents explains, ‘I was deeply honoured to receive an invitation to such a historic occasion. It was an amazing and slightly surreal experience to visit Buckingham Palace let alone dine there amongst royalty and VIPs. Everyone was so lovely and welcoming and I felt at ease straightaway. I shall treasure this evening for many, many years to come!’
Liew continues, ‘The event was even more significant for me as my Uncle served as Private Secretary to the first two Presidents of Singapore Yusof bin Ishak and Benjamin Sheares and my Aunt served as Controller of the Households. It was also a great honour to represent the British Chinese arts community in London as the only musician/composer present.’
The Queen usually hosts two incoming State visits a year. State visits are formal visits to the UK by Heads of State from overseas, with the aim of strengthening Britain’s relationships with other countries.
The State Banquet is a White Tie invitation-only event. Liew wore an ankle-length turquoise cheongsam gown with white Jimmy Choo Couture shoes.