Most Heads of State have equivalent functions, although the name may differ. The term 'Protocol' is often used.
The various tasks include receiving and seating the guests at dinners and other events, welcoming ceremonies and introductions.
Members of staff who are attached to the Office of Ceremonies include: the Grand Master of Ceremonies, the Master of Ceremonies, the Deputy Master of Ceremonies, four Lords in Waiting and eight Chamberlains. None of them serve on a full-time basis, but are instead called in as required.
The professional backgrounds of the Master of Ceremonies, Deputy Master of Ceremonies, Lords in Waiting and Chamberlains vary, from culture, research and business, to defence and other state positions. They should together have a significant knowledge of people, which comes in very useful when taking care of guests.
Following this the eight Lords in Waiting form a guard of honour, preceded by the Marshal of the Realm and First Marshal of the Court, who lead the couple in procession to the guest apartments in the Royal Palace.
A specially appointed Lord in Waiting is responsible for ensuring that the visiting Head of State is kept informed of all the details in the programme.
In the next room, the Master of Ceremonies or Deputy Master of Ceremonies receives the ambassador, and in the room after that the First Marshal of the Court, Chief of Staff and Grand Master of Ceremonies take over before the ambassador is led to the King's audience chamber for private discussions.
The staff of the Office of Ceremonies wear court uniforms during state visits and formal audiences. The design of these court uniforms originates from the first half of the 19th century.
The three Masters of Ceremonies also carry their ceremonial staffs. These are knocked against the floor to call people to attention at various points in the ceremony.
The uniform of the Chamberlains features a golden key on the back, which is a reminder of the days when the Chamberlains used to have access to The King's chamber.