LONDON – The Queen has greeted US President Barack Obama, and his wife Michelle, at the start of his first UK state visit, BBC News reported. The Obamas, who are staying at Buckingham Palace, also spent 20 minutes with newlyweds the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in the 1844 room.
The visit began with Obama being formally greeted by the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall at the US ambassador’s residence, Winfield House. It comes after he and David Cameron spoke of the “essential” US-UK ties. In a joint article in the Times, Obama and Cameron said of their countries’ relationship: “Ours is not just a special relationship, it is an essential relationship – for us and for the world. When the United States and Britain stand together, our people and people around the world can become more secure and more prosperous. The reason it thrives is because it advances our common interests and shared values. It is a perfect alignment of what we both need and what we both believe.”
On Wednesday Obama will meet Cameron for talks. Obama arrived in the UK a day ahead of schedule on Monday, to avoid any disruption from a volcanic ash cloud. The president flew into Stansted, in Essex, with wife Michelle after leaving the Republic of Ireland, where his week-long tour of Europe began.
He and his wife, Michelle, spent the night at US ambassador’s residence Winfield House, in London’s Regent’s Park. After he was welcomed there by Prince Charles and his wife, the president’s cavalcade made its way to Buckingham Palace where he joined the Queen.
The state visit to the UK is the 101st to be hosted by the Queen but only the third involving a US president in 100 years.