In a normal year Her Majesty The Queen officially receives two foreign heads of State as guests of the Court of St James's. These may be Foreign Monarchs, Presidents or Prime Ministers. The visits normally last a few days and start with an official reception at either Horse Guards in London, Windsor Castle or the Palace of Hollyrood House in Edinburgh. Invitations are sent on the advice of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
Visits normally begin with a ceremonial welcome attended by The Queen and other senior members of the Royal Family. If the guest is staying at Buckingham Palace, the welcome takes place on Horse Guards Parade.