President and Mrs. Bush are hosting Britain's Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall for a black-tie social dinner at the White House. It is the first visit to America by Prince Charles and his wife, Camilla.

The president and Mrs. Bush welcomed their royal guests to an elaborate dinner in the White House State Dining Room.

There were white orchids on gold silk tablecloths and the china chosen by former President Bill Clinton.

It is the first big dinner for the new White House executive chef Cris Comerford who served celery broth with crispy rock shrimp, buffalo tenderloin, roasted corn, and wild rice pancakes.

President Bush spoke of the unique and enduring bond between the United States and Great Britain, saying America has no greater friend and he hopes the people of Great Britain realize they have no greater admirer.

Mr. Bush said the two countries share a common commitment to expanding freedom and likened the ongoing cooperation in the fight against terrorism to previous fights against Nazism and Communism.

Prince Charles thanked the President and Mrs. Bush for their hospitality, saying the burdens of the world rest on the president's shoulders.

But for one night, at least, it was festivity not diplomacy at the White House. Members of the U.S. Marine band entertained guests before the meal. Cellist Yo Yo Ma and pianist Kathryn Stott performed in the East Room after dinner.

The president's daughter, Jenna Bush was at the dinner along with her grandparents former President George Herbert Walker Bush and First Lady Barbara Bush. They were joined by Vice President and Mrs. Cheney along with their daughters Elizabeth and Mary.

Also in attendance were former First Lady Nancy Reagan, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, fashion designer Oscar de la Renta, U.S. Senator Bill Frist, and historian Michael Beschloss.

From Washington, the Prince of Wales and the Dutchess of Cornwall travel to New Orleans Friday to meet with victims of Hurricane Katrina. They are also scheduled to meet with veterans of the Second World War and visit organic farmers in San Francisco.