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King’s private secretary is strategically sitting next to Starmer in a move that could cause political tension

King’s private secretary is strategically sitting next to Starmer in a move that could cause political tension

King’s private secretary is strategically sitting next to Starmer in a move that could cause political tension

The King’s principal private secretary, Sir Clive Alderton, was seated alongside opposition leader Sir Keir Starmer during tonight’s state banquet at Buckingham Palace.

Sir Clive is responsible for maintaining an open line of communication between the King and his Government.


By contrast, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has been sitting next to a British computer scientist, Dame Wendy Hall.

With nine days to go until the country votes in the general election, the latest opinion polls suggest that the Labor Party will win an overall majority, meaning Sir Keir Starmer is likely to become Prime Minister on July 5.

King Charles and Keir Starmer

King Charles and Keir Starmer at the state banquet on Tuesday night

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The seating arrangements for the state banquets inside Buckingham Palace’s vast ballroom are rigorously planned and tonight’s event is expected to give Sir Clive Alderton and the Labor Party leader the opportunity for a long conversation.

This week’s Japanese state visit has been adapted by Buckingham Palace and the Foreign Office, taking into account the general election period.

His Majesty the Emperor of Japan will not make the traditional visit to Downing Street and will not address politicians at Westminster Hall.

A Japanese foreign official has said this week’s state visit is an opportunity to forge “friendly relations between generations” and is not political in nature.

Keir Starmer

Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer with his wife Victoria attends the state banquet for the Emperor and Empress of Japan.

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As the Prime Minister called a general election, a Buckingham Palace spokesperson said: “Following the Prime Minister’s statement this afternoon calling a general election, the royal family will, in accordance with normal procedure, postpone engagements that may appear to divert attention or distract the attention of the electoral campaign.

“Their Majesties send their sincerest apologies to any of those who may be affected as a result.”

The Japanese state visit, already postponed once due to the coronavirus pandemic, was deemed appropriate to go ahead with some adaptations.

Meanwhile, Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey will also attend the state banquet.

King Charles and Queen Camilla

King Charles and Queen Camilla received the Japanese Emperor and Empress on Tuesday

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Kemi Badenoch

Business Secretary Kemi Badenoch attended the state banquet

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A number of Government ministers will also attend, including Foreign Secretary David Cameron, Business and Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch and Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden.

On July 5, the King will ask the leader of the political party with an absolute majority in the House of Commons, unless there is a hung parliament, to form a government.

During the 70-year reign of Queen Elizabeth II, there were no incoming state visits during the general election period.

In 2017, a Spanish state visit was rescheduled because the dates coincided with an early election in the United Kingdom.