All the Queen's men prepare for guests

President Tony Tan Keng Yam and his wife, Mrs Mary Tan, will be visiting the United Kingdom on Tuesday at the invitation of Queen Elizabeth II. The State Visit, the first by a Singaporean president, recognises the close friendship between the two countries.

The President and Mrs Tan will be greeted at their London hotel by Prince William and his wife Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, before they travel to Buckingham Palace where Dr Tan will receive a full ceremonial welcome. At night, a state banquet will be given in his honour.

The Straits Times goes behind the scenes to see the preparations for such an occasion, and also some of the places the President will be visiting. The ST trip was made possible by the British High Commission, Singapore.

joyce@sph.com.sg

WESTMINSTER ABBEY: The area in the Henry VII Lady Chapel where English statesman Oliver Cromwell is buried being cleaned before Westminster Abbey is opened to the public. -- ST PHOTO: JOYCE FANG

WESTMINSTER ABBEY: The magnificent Henry VII Lady Chapel, which is famous for its pendant style, fan vaulted ceiling. It holds the tombs of monarchs, including Henry VII, Elizabeth I and Mary Queen of Scots. -- ST PHOTO: JOYCE FANG

BUCKINGHAM PALACE: Deputy Master of the Household Edward Griffiths in the White Drawing Room. He says he is “responsible for the hospitality and the delivery of service and accommodation within the palaces”. -- ST PHOTO: JOYCE FANG

BUCKINGHAM PALACE: The Blue Drawing Room, where the Queen and her Singapore guests will chat and get to know one another over an informal luncheon. -- ST PHOTO: JOYCE FANG

KEW GARDENS: The red tropical Amherstia nobilis plant that botanical artist Marianne North painted in Singapore. -- ST PHOTO: JOYCE FANG

KEW GARDENS: The Marianne North Gallery has almost 1,000 paintings lining its walls. The Victorian artist spent 13 years travelling the world from the Americas to Asia to paint each country’s local plants. -- ST PHOTO: JOYCE FANG

WESTMINSTER ABBEY: Tucked away in the north choir aisle is a statue of the founder of Singapore, Sir Stamford Raffles. The life-sized statue was fashioned from white marble by sculptor Francis Chantrey. -- ST PHOTO: JOYCE FANG

HOUSEHOLD CAVALRY: The Queen’s Life Guard mounted regiment preparing for their morning inspection at Hyde Park Barracks. The Life Guard, along with the Blues and Royals, make up the Household Cavalry. They are part of the British Army. -- ST PHOTO: JOYCE FANG

HOUSEHOLD CAVALRY: A Queen’s Life Guard on sentry duty at Horse Guards, London. The trooper’s uniform consists of a red tunic, white jodhpurs and a metal helmet fitted with a white plume made from horsehair. -- ST PHOTO: JOYCE FANG

HOUSEHOLD CAVALRY: Trooper Neil Pocklington, 23, polishing his cavalry boots in the cleaning room at Hyde Park Barracks. It can take up to eight hours of polishing to bring out the glossy mirror shine. -- ST PHOTO: JOYCE FANG

HOUSEHOLD CAVALRY: A farrier shoeing a horse at the forge at Hyde Park Barracks. There is a constant, almost hypnotic hum of hammering and tinkering as farriers make and fit regiment horses with shoes. -- ST PHOTO: JOYCE FANG

HOUSEHOLD CAVALRY: A farrier using a loop blade to cut away excess sole from a horse’s hoof after removing a worn shoe. The procedure is painless. Horses usually wear out their shoes in two weeks. -- ST PHOTO: JOYCE FANG

HOUSEHOLD CAVALRY: The trooper's uniform consists of a red tunic, white jodhpurs and a metal helmet fitted with a white plume made from horsehair. -- ST PHOTO: JOYCE FANG

HOUSEHOLD CAVALRY: A farrier preparing a horse's hoof for shoeing. Farriers shoe a 120 horses a week. -- ST PHOTO: JOYCE FANG

HOUSEHOLD CAVALRY: Tourists taking photos with a Queen's Life Guard on sentry duty at Horse Guards, London. -- ST PHOTO: JOYCE FANG

HOUSEHOLD CAVALRY: Tourists taking photos with a Queen's Life Guard on sentry duty at Horse Guards, London. -- ST PHOTO: JOYCE FANG

HOUSEHOLD CAVALRY: Trooper Neil Pocklington (left), 23, polishing his cavalry boots in the cleaning room at Hyde Park Barracks. -- ST PHOTO: JOYCE FANG

HOUSEHOLD CAVALRY: Trooper Simon Connoll, 22, explaining the different parts of a saddle. -- ST PHOTO: JOYCE FANG

HOUSEHOLD CAVALRY: Troopers from the mounted regiment take great care in maintaining their ceremonial kit. -- ST PHOTO: JOYCE FANG