The star-studded dinner at Buckingham Palace did not feature William and Kate, who had "work commitments"

By Simon Perry
May 24, 2011 05:25 PM
Chris Jackson/Getty

Tom Hanks, Helena Bonham-Carter, Tim Burton and Kristin Chenoweth were among the special guests as Queen Elizabeth hosted President Obama at Buckingham Palace on Tuesday.

And the stars’ place in the entertainment world helped underscore a major tie between the countries.

“Over the years, we have enjoyed … any number of what we call films – and you might call movies,” the Queen told her visitors. “[The] exchange of people and projects has enlarged and invigorated our common language – although I think you will agree we don’t always use it in quite the same way.”

The Queen, 85, referred to the “fond memories” of her initial meeting with the first family of the U.S. in 2009, when it gave her “much pleasure to welcome Mrs. Obama and your daughters here.”

The President, for his part, sent wishes from his daughters Sasha, 9, and Malia, 12, who “adored you even before you let them ride in a carriage on the palace grounds,” he told the Queen.

They made the comments at the beginning of the State Banquet in the palace’s grand ballroom. The Obamas and the 170 special guests were entertained by the Scots Guards.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, who helped welcome the Obamas earlier in the day, were not at the banquet because of work commitments, the palace said.

But on the guest list – which aimed to capture the cultural and business links between the two long-standing allies – was Virgin Atlantic boss Sir Richard Branson, as well as actor Kevin Spacey, who heads up the creative direction of the Old Vic Theater in London.

The group was set to dine on sole in crayfish sauce, lamb with basil, zucchini and sautéed radish, ending with a dessert of vanilla and kirsch cherry charlotte.