Donald Trump is going to the UK for a three-day visit - but he won’t be staying with the Queen at Buckingham Palace. The US President and First Lady Melania Trump will visit the UK from June 3-5 in the run up to the D-Day anniversary commemorations, it was confirmed on Tuesday. But refurbishment work at the Palace means there will not be enough room for the President and his entourage to stay there during the visit.
A senior Palace source said, “As Buckingham Palace is undergoing a massive renovation it’s just not possible to accommodate President Trump, the First Lady and all his entourage. The entire east wing of the Palace is under reconstruction. Thousands of pieces from the royal collection have been removed and major plumbing and electrical works are taking place. The Belgian Suite, where former President Barack Obama stayed and which is not in the part of the east wing is not closed but the logistics for having people all spread out over the building is just not practical. All lunches and state banquets which will host the President and his wife will take place I’m Buckingham Palace as normal.”
Within minutes of the trip being officially confirmed, people had seized on an embarrassing mistake in the White House’s official announcement. The text said the President would be visiting as a guest of “Her Royal Majesty Queen Elizabeth II”. The Queen is correctly referred to as “Her Majesty.” News of the visit has angered Trump’s opponents, with Labour ’s Emily Thornberry slamming Theresa May for “wasting taxpayers’ money on all the pomp, ceremony and policing” of the visit.
Donald Trump WON'T be allowed to stay at Buckingham Palace during UK state visit
When the US President last visited the UK in July last year, his trip was downgraded to a “working visit” - without the bells and whistled of a full State Visit. But even this pared back visit cost taxpayers £18 million in policing costs. But this time Britain is expected to fully roll out the red carpet, treating Trump to a state banquet and possibly a carriage ride down the Mall to Buckingham Palace.
A Palace source added, “This official visit will give the President some time to spend in London after his working trip last year where he didn’t get to see everything on offer, largely die to the helicopters he took to avoid ongoing protests in different cities. On top of that he was locked away in meetings at Regent’s Park, Blenheim Palace or Chequers so there will be many differences to his experience this time. There will be a meeting with the Queen and President Trump at Horseguards Parade, just a short stop from Buckingham Palace. No decision had been made about a carriage ride as yet. The American intelligence services are holding it up and are still undertaking a risk assessment which will last right up until the day the President arrives and throughout his stay.”
Plans are already underway for large-scale protests as he arrives in the UK. Last year tens of thousands gathered in Trafalgar Square and hundreds at Blenheim Palace to express their disgust at President Trump’s visit. And with hours of the visit being announced, more than 50 MPs from five political parties had backed demands for the invitation to be rescinded.
Crushing blow for Trump
Donald Trump, who has long been obsessed with the Royal Family, missing out on a stay at the 52-bedroom Buckingham Palace will be a crushing disappointment. His mother was reportedly such a fan of the Queen, she would tune in any time the monarch was on television. The Donald infamously tried and failed to seduce Princess Diana by sending her bouquets of flowers.
And he invited Prince Charles and Prince Andrew to his wedding to Melania, though they did not attend. "Anything that says 'fancy' really appeals to him," Trump biographer Michael D'Antonio told the Boston Globe last year. "And I think a lot of the environment that the royals find themselves in would be gilded and he loves gilding, he loves anything that is just the color of gold. If he could have a crown, he would love it."
A Commons motion, tabled by Labour MP Stephen Doughty, attacked the US President over his "mysogynism, racism and xenophobia". It also took aim at his withdrawal from the Paris Climate Change accord and his string of comments about London Mayor Sadiq Khan . Mr Doughty said the trip was "bonkers" adding: "This man is a racist, sexist, extremist who was happy to promote far-right content from Britain First. "Not the America I know and love. Not welcome."
It’s also reignited a row over whether he will be allowed to follow in the footsteps of Ronald Reagan, Barack Obama and Bill Clinton in addressing both houses of Parliament. Speaker John Bercow has previously suggested he would bar Trump from speaking to the Commons, saying it was “not an automatic right, it is an earned honour.” Before Buckingham Palace confirmed the visit a spokeswoman for the Speaker's Office said: "Should a request be made to address the Houses of Parliament, it will be considered in the usual way."
Ms Thornberry said: “It beggars belief that on the very same day Donald Trump is threatening to veto a UN resolution against the use of rape as a weapon of war, Theresa May is pressing ahead with her plans to honour him with a State Visit to the UK. “This is a President who has systematically assaulted all the shared values that unite our two countries, and unless Theresa May is finally going to stand up to him and object to that behaviour, she has no business wasting taxpayers’ money on all the pomp, ceremony and policing costs that will come with this visit.”
The organisation Stand Up To Trump said campaigners had pledged to mobilise huge numbers in response to the state visit. Member Sabby Dhalu claimed the US leader was "the world's number one racist, warmonger and misogynist. A formal state visit to Britain in June must be met with widespread opposition," she said. "All those that value peace and hope for a better world for the many must take to the streets and say clearly that Donald Trump is not welcome here."
The US President will fly into London and Portsmouth for the pomp-and-ceremony trip amid Brexit chaos and a bid to oust the Prime Minister. As part of the visit, he's expected to attend a grand military spectacle in commemoration of D-Day, to take place in Portsmouth on June 5. Hundreds of D-Day veterans will be given a naval gun salute as they sail across the channel to France to mark the anniversary of the Normandy landings.
The Ministry of Defence announced the event over the weekend, promising thousands of troops, dozens of planes and an armada of naval vessels. There will be a flypast of 26 RAF aircraft including a Spitfire and the Red Arrows, before veterans embark on a ship to France. Theresa May said: “The State Visit is an opportunity to strengthen our already close relationship in areas such as trade, investment, security and defence, and to discuss how we can build on these ties in the years ahead.”
A White House spokesman said: "This state visit will reaffirm the steadfast and special relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom. "In addition to meeting the Queen, the president will participate in a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Theresa May. "While in the United Kingdom, the president and first lady will attend a ceremony in Portsmouth to commemorate the 75th anniversary of D-Day, at one of the primary embarkation sites for the Allied operation that led to the liberation of Europe during World War II."
At the same time as the State Visit was announced, President Trump was in the middle of a stream of tweets claiming Twitter was biased against Republicans because Barack Obama has more followers than he does.