The Queen has paid tribute to Britain's close ties with its American ally as US President Donald Trump and wife Melania Trump get the full royal treatment at tonight's lavish state banquet at Buckingham Palace. Her Majesty spoke after a parade of tiara, jewels and dinner tuxedo-wearing dignitaries and public officials sashayed into Buckingham Palace to greet the couple. The Trumps, dressed for the occasion - he in tuxedo and the First Lady in white Dior gown and gloves was treated to an elaborate feast alongside 170 guests, including an array of senior royals.
Prince William and Kate Middleton were among the first to arrive for the no-flourishes-spared feast of lamb and strawberry sable after a day marking the US commander-in-chief's first official state visit to Britain. Ahead of the banquet, Trump spoke of the bonds between the close allies, saying the ties between the nations were "forever sealed in that great crusade" against the Nazis.
The presidential couple has marked the beginning of the feast with speeches from the Queen and Trump. The Queen told the diners that the two nations remain, "bound by the strength and breadth of our economic ties, as the largest investors in each other’s economies. Mr. President, as we look to the future, I am confident that our common values and shared interests will continue to unite us. Tonight we celebrate an alliance that has helped to ensure the safety and prosperity of both our peoples for decades, and which I believe will endure for many years to come. President Trump, who had earlier been gifted a first-edition copy of Winston Churchill's The Second World War by the Queen, delivered a speech referencing the wartime bond forged by the allies." He said: "Our fight is against evil and for a world in which goodness and honor may be the foundation of the life of men in every land. This evening, we thank God for the brave sons of the United Kingdom and the United States who defeated the Nazis and the Nazi regime and liberated millions from tyranny.
"The bond between our nations was forever sealed in that great crusade."As we honor our shared victory and heritage, we affirm the common values that will unite us long into future. "Freedom, sovereignty, self-determination, the rule of law and reference for the rights given to us by almighty god." As the Queen moved to toast Trump's speech, he gestured toward the Monarch then touched her while she stood to his toast, in an apparent breach of royal protocol. The Queen appeared unfazed by the president placing his hand on her back as she stood.
Among those in attendance at the lavish sit-down supper – include heir to the throne Prince of Wales and his wife the Duchess of Cornwall. Prime Minister Theresa May and US Ambassador Woody Johnson were also in attendance at the feast boycotted by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. They are joined by an array of dignitaries and official figures, including the Bank of England's Mark Carney, and US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.
What's on the menu:
Tonight's State Banquet will see the Trumps dine on a menu of top-drawer British fare featuring Windsor Lamb and strawberry sable in the opulent Buckingham Palace Ballroom. The menu is handpicked by the Queen herself, who is presented with four menu options proffered by her royal chefs. Us President Donald Trump, First Lady Melania Trump and four of Mr. Trump's five children will be served and the entree of steamed fillet of halibut with watercress mousse, asparagus spears and chervil sauce. This will be followed by saddle of new season Windsor lamb, served with herb stuffing, spring vegetables, and port sauce. The evening of fine dining will be rounded off with a dessert of strawberry sable with lemon verbena cream - made of crisp biscuits, smooth pastry cream, and fresh strawberries, and finished with a selection of assorted fresh fruits, coffee and delectable petit fours.
The Queen's state banquet guests will wash down their lavish dinner with wines costing from £38 up to £1,400, but not US President Donald Trump - who is teetotal. The food and drink served to diners at royal events usually feature produce from the Queen's estate, and those invited to the Buckingham Palace banquet in honour of the US president were served a 2014 English sparkling wine from Windsor Great Park, priced at about £37.99. Mr. Trump is said to have never drunk and encouraged his children to abstain from alcohol. Other wines served included another sparkling wine from the UK - the Hambledon Classic Cuvee Rose NV costing £34.95 and the white burgundy Chassagne Montrachet 1er Cru Morgeot Louis Jadot 2014 priced at about £75.
The royal pomp and ceremony is the final, contrasting chapter in a trademark Trump day, as the United States' 45th president documented the first of his-three day tour with a series of tweets ricocheting from attacking London's Mayor to admiration for his royal hosts. He also claimed to have seen no protests after many Londoners promised to rally against Trump ahead of his arrival in the capital. Mr. Trump tweeted during a pause in his schedule before a state banquet at Buckingham Palace tonight to remark that the trip was "going really well" and the royal family had been "fantastic".
He wrote: "London part of the trip is going really well. The Queen and the entire Royal Family have been fantastic. The relationship with the United Kingdom is very strong. Tremendous crowds of good wishers and people that love our Country. "Haven't seen any protests yet, but I'm sure the Fake News will be working hard to find them. Great love all around. Also, big Trade Deal is possible once the U.K. gets rid of the shackles. Already starting to talk!"
But protest is indeed forecast - with sign-bearing protesters pictured outside Buckingham Palace Gate ready to greet the presidential entourage ahead of tonight's banquet, and crowds earlier seen bearing placards as far afield as Bristol and The demonstrations are scaled up tomorrow- with opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn confirmed by Labour as likely to be at the helm of the rallying. He is expected to speak at a demo to be attended by thousands set to march through central London in protest at Trump's visit and policies.
The rally will take the anti-Trump crowds from Trafalgar Square down Whitehall to Parliament Square - while the President holds talks with outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May in Downing Street. Far from exchanging pleasantries, the president earlier launched a Twitter tirade against London's Mayor Sadiq Khan, "fake news" and China. Trump-branded Mr. Khan a "stone cold loser" even before he had set foot on the ground at Stansted Airport on Monday morning. And shortly before the visit, Trump had had to deny calling the Duchess of Sussex "nasty" when confronted with comments Meghan Markle had made before the 2016 US elections saying she would leave the country if he won. Asked at the White House on Sunday evening if he was willing to apologise to the royal family, or to clarify the comments made to The Sun's political editor, Mr. Trump denied making the comments, despite them having been recorded.
But there was no sign of any awkwardness as Mr. Trump was greeted by Meghan's father-in-law the Prince of Wales shortly after midday today.The US president and the First Lady chatted with Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall. Later Trump exchanged a handshake with the Queen before Prince Harry joined the Trumps inside the palace for a private lunch, and the Queen made the customary royal gifts to the presidential couple. The Trumps took tea at Clarence House with Charles and Camilla, ahead of the splendour of a state banquet back at Buckingham Palace.Read More