President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump have arrived for their first state visit to the U.K.
Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall met the couple with handshakes as they disembarked their helicopter on Monday. They arrived to Buckingham Palace by the Marine One helicopter after landing Air Force One at Stansted Airport, north of London. This is the first time since George W. Bush in 2003 that the president’s helicopter has landed in the back garden of the palace.
Charles and the president walked side-by-side, with their wives chatting as they followed behind them, as they walked over to greet Queen Elizabeth, who was standing near a back entrance.
Last summer, London prepared for some 100,000 protestors to assemble as Trump made a working visit to the U.K.
This year the city is ready for another large demonstration of Trump critics as the president makes his first state visit to the U.K.
While en route Monday morning to London, Trump mocked the London mayor as a “stone cold loser” only a few hours after again insisting he had not said anything “bad” about Meghan Markle.
After briefly stepping inside the palace, Trump returned to the Buckingham Palace gardens to receive a ceremonial welcome where a band played the national anthems, then inspected the Guard of Honour alongside Prince Charles. Royal gun salutes were also fired in Green Park and at the Tower of London.
Trump’s daughter, Ivanka Trump, and her husband, Jared Kushner, watched from a palace balcony.
The Queen will later host a private lunch at Buckingham Palace for President Trump and his wife.
Following the lunch, the Trumps will view a special exhibition in the Picture Gallery showcasing items of historical significance to the United States from the Royal Collection. Prince Harry will join the royals for the viewing without wife Meghan Markle, who is currently on maternity leave after giving birth to their son Archie on May 6.
Monday’s itinerary also includes the Trumps’ visit to Westminster Abbey for a short tour by Prince Andrew and to lay a wreath at the Grave of the Unknown Warrior.
Afterwards, the Trumps will join Prince Charles and Camilla for afternoon tea at their home, Clarence House.
In the evening, the Queen will give a State Banquet at Buckingham Palace for President Trump and Mrs. Trump. Neither the Duke or Duchess of Sussex will be at the state banquet. However, both Kate Middleton and Prince William will be in attendance at the formal event.
Trump and his wife arrived in U.K. on Monday morning and waved to onlookers while exiting Air Force One.
The visit marks President Trump’s first state visit to the U.K., though he made a working visit last summer, where demonstrators protested his visit and plan to do once again. “Together Against Trump – Stop the State Visit”, the group who organized the 2018 protest against the president and famously flew the giant Trump baby ballon, has mounted demonstrations for Monday at Buckingham Palace, and on Tuesday, in London’s Trafalgar Square. Protestors then plan to march from the square on Tuesday to “wherever [Trump] is.”
“This is about sending a strong message that people in the U.K. don’t accept the divisive right-wing policies that Trump stands for, and that inviting him for a state visit is totally inappropriate,” the Stop Trump Coalition said in a statement.
Following their U.K. trip, the first couple will travel to France on June 6 to mark the D-Day anniversary there in Normandy.
Trump was first invited for a state visit — an offer that must be extended by the Queen — in 2017 right after being sworn into office. President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama previously visited in 2011, and before them President George W. Bush and First Lady Bush visited in 2003. (The Queen has made four state visits to the U.S., most recently in 2007.)
But Trump’s official state trip was repeatedly delayed, with speculation that it was due to worries over protests. Among other controversies in his relationship with Britain, Trump sparked intense backlash in June 2017 after he attacked London’s mayor in the wake of a terror attack there.
In July, he met with the Queen Elizabeth at Windsor Castle amid the expected protests about his working trip. A “Stop Trump March” in London drew tens of thousands of people.
In an interview ahead of his meeting with the Queen last year, the president said, “She is a tremendous woman. I really look forward to meeting her. I think she represents her country so well.”
“If you think of it, for so many years she has represented her country, she has really never made a mistake,” Trump said then. “You don’t see, like, anything embarrassing. She is just an incredible woman.”
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