Trump meets with Queen, Prince Charles in Britain, visits Westminster Abbey

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U.S. President Donald Trump with Dean of Westminster and a chaplain to the Queen Elizabeth II John Hall (R) and first lady Melania Trump tour Westminster Abbey in London, Britain, Monday. Photo by Andy Rain/EPA-EFE

By Darryl Coote

London (UPI) — President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump arrived in Britain on Monday for a three-day, pomp-filled official state visit, during which he will meet with the queen and prime minister and attend a ceremony marking the 75th anniversary of D-Day.

The Trumps arrived at London Stansted Airport before departing for the U.S. ambassador’s residence. A short time later, the president traveled to Buckingham Palace and was introduced to Queen Elizabeth II and members of the royal household. It is Trump’s first official state visit to Britain.

After Trump inspected the honor guard, the Trumps and Windsors stood at the entrance as a band played God Save the Queen before they went inside for a private lunch, which was set to be attended by Prince Harry. A private lunch followed, and then a visit to the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior in Westminster Abby, where the president laid the wreath at the Grave of the Unknown Soldier. The grave memorializes all soldiers from World War I who died and weren’t recovered.

The Trumps also signed a guestbook at the tomb. Also present at the ceremony were White House advisers Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump and Treasury Secretary Stave Mnuchin.

Afterward, the Trumps met Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall for tea at a royal house across from Buckingham Palace.

Trump is also scheduled to meet with British Prime Minister Theresa May during his visit, and will travel to Ireland on Wednesday to meet Prime Minister Leo Varadkar. The Trumps will then attend ceremonies marking the 75th anniversary of D-Day, the allied forces’ landing at Normandy, France, during World War II.

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Trump will attend a dinner with Queen Elizabeth II on Monday evening. According to Buckingham Palace, visitors are hosted at a state banquet within the palace ballroom with around 150 guests invited “on the basis of their cultural, diplomatic or economic links to the country being hosted.”

The trip is Trump’s second to Britain since taking office, although the first last July was not an official state visit. His visit comes amid political turmoil in Britain as May is scheduled to step down on Friday after failing to to get an agreement passed to leave the European Union.

Trump caused a stir before landing Monday, criticizing London Mayor Sadiq Khan.

“Sadiq Khan, who by all accounts has done a terrible job as Mayor of London, has been foolishly ‘nasty’ to the visiting President of the United States, by far the most important ally of the United Kingdom,” Trump said. “He is a stone-cold loser who should focus on crime in London, not me.”

Trump’s remarks followed criticism Sunday from Khan, who dismissed the presidential visit. Khan said Britain will one day look back on the visit with “profound regret,” and said Trump is “one of the most egregious examples of a growing global threat.”

 

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