File photo of soldiers of the King's Troops Royal Horse Artillery preparing a 41-gun salute in Green Park, London. (Photo from thetimes.co.uk)
LONDON, Oct. 20 (Xinhua) -- The British royal family is to honor Chinese President Xi Jinping with a 103-gun salute on Tuesday as part of the welcome for the first state visit by a Chinese leader to Britain in 10 years.
Why so many rounds? And where will they be fired?
Of the 103 rounds, 41 will be fired in Green Park: the basic royal salute of 21 rounds and an extra 20 rounds. The latter are added because the park is a royal park.
File photo of the Honorable Artillery Company firing a 62-gun salute at the Tower of London, London, capital of Britain. (Photo from uk.gov)
The other 62 rounds will be fired at the Tower of London: the basic 21, plus a further 20 because the tower is a royal palace and fortress, and another 21 for the City of London.
Usually, the 62-gun salute is for royal anniversaries, and only 41 rounds are fired on other occasions.
The 103-gun salute for Xi, given that, is a vivid manifestation of the importance Britain attaches to his visit.
Just as a salute with the open hand was used historically to show that no weapon was concealed in the palm, the firing of cannon as a salute is meant to indicate the friendly intent of an empty chamber.
The salute in Green Park is fired by the King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery at noon.
At the Tower of London, the salute is fired by the Honorable Artillery Company at 1:00 p.m..