Monday, 17 January 2022

Donald Trump meets the Queen at start of UK state visit

Carlos Barria/Reuters

LONDON: Donald Trump breezed into Buckingham Palace onboard Marine One on Monday morning, as Tory leadership contenders braced themselves for presidential interventions in the race.

The US president and the first lady, Melania Trump, landed on the Queen’s lawn in their helicopter for the full British bells and whistles state visit, including two 41-gun salutes, a guard of honour and a banquet.

There was even a wall – the high one which encloses Buckingham Palace gardens – which served to keep Trump well away from the public at the start of his three-day visit, most of which will be conducted behind closed doors and well away from the planned protests.

Security concerns meant the ceremonial welcome was held on the palace lawn instead of nearby Horse Guards Parade. So there was no carriage ride, thus no risk of a repeat of the welcome afforded China’s president, Xi Jinping, who ran the gauntlet of mass protests along the Mall.

The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall greeted the presidential couple. The Trumps then walked together to meet the Queen, who was waiting on the palace steps, and the first lady did an excellent job of aerating the lawn with her spiked high heels.

Accompanied by Prince Charles, and to a medley of American service tunes played by the band of the Grenadier Guards, the president then inspected the guard of honour by the Nijmegen Company Grenadier Guards. His daughter Ivanka and her husband, Jared Kushner, watched the ceremony from a palace balcony.

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