A state visit is when someone comes to your home, but you don’t recall inviting them. If you look out your front window and see lots of photographers you are sure to be having a state visit and you must be prepared.
On a state visit it is bad manners to wait till the doorbell rings, you must be outside ready to greet them; this is when you will need help from your family and colleagues. If the visitors have brought their whole family you must find an equal number of members of your own family who have not been insulted by the guests and do not have anything better to do, like go to work or look after the baby.
Each visitor must be greeted with sincere smiles, for the benefit of the cameras, and cheerful small talk. At this early stage of the meeting it is best to stick to the weather.
You will also need help indoors. Your guests may expect to stay in your home, you can get out of this by having renovations done on the house, but you cannot get out of giving them a good meal. If you are The Queen you are used to giving banquets and will have a few people to help, but if you don’t have a banqueting hall you just need to pull out the leaves on the dining table, buy a few candlesticks at the charity shop and you can get three bunches of flowers for a fiver at the greengrocers. Don’t forget to buy a few bottles of wine when you get the food shop.
The menu is important as it will feature in reports of the state visit. If you are The Queen you may have to take the great grandchildren’s pet hand reared lamb and roast it, but you can probably get away with a couple of chickens from Aldi.
Finally you will need felt pens and some recycled card to make place names for the table, but planning the seating is easy with these simple rules. Each person must sit next to someone of the opposite sex who they have never met before. Don’t forget to wear your best clothes and remind your family to be on their best behaviour and leave their mobile phones in the box at the door.
Good luck and don’t forget to record that television programme you were looking forward to watching in your pyjamas.