Queen to invite Trump to palace: Report
British government is planning to use Queen Elizabeth II as a “secret weapon” to invite US President-elect Donald Trump to Buckingham Palace in the first half of 2017 to bolster US-UK ties, a news report claimed on Sunday.
Ministers believe the Queen is their “secret weapon” and British Prime Minister Theresa May will use the state visit to help strengthen the “special relationship” between Britain and the US, ‘The Sunday Times’ reports.
A source who has discussed the issue with a Cabinet minister told the paper: “The government has decided that their secret weapon to get in with Trump is to offer him an early visit to the Queen, him and [his wife] Melania staying at Windsor Castle.”
A senior official said the details of the invitation had been held back for protocol reasons because Mrs May was due to meet Barack Obama in Berlin next week.
“I know that there are plans for a state visit. They didn’t want to say it because it’s disrespectful to Obama, but once [Trump is] in they’ll move quickly in No 10. London in summer is a very attractive place for anyone to come. It will be the first offer,” the official told the newspaper.
Trump reportedly told May when they had their first official phone call 10 days ago that his mother, a Scot, had been a big fan of the Queen and asked the Prime Minister to pass on his best wishes to the monarch.
Another cabinet source said: “The Queen is the key here.
She’s not a secret weapon, she’s the biggest public weapon you have.” A Buckingham Palace spokesperson made clear that the final decision would rest with Downing Street. “State visits and other meetings with overseas heads of state are organised on the advice of the government,” the spokesperson said.
A Downing Street spokesperson said: “No visit has been organised but the Prime Minister is looking forward to welcoming the president-elect to the UK when he chooses to visit.”
UK public want Queen to pay for own palace repairs
Thousands of people have signed an online petition calling for Queen Elizabeth II to pay nearly 370 million pounds for repairs to Buckingham Palace from her own pocket instead of resorting to taxpayer funds.
The “Make Royals Pay for Palace Renovation” was created on 38 Degrees campaign site and has gathered 88,389 signatures within days since the UK government announced on Friday that the British monarch’s London home would undergo a 369 million-pound essential refurbishment. The 90-year-old monarch will remain in residence during the work, which is set to begin in April next year.
The Queen’s household budget was awarded a 66 per cent pay rise to pay for the 10-year refit of the palace in central London, designed to future-proof the ageing building. “There is a national housing crisis, the NHS is in crisis, austerity is forcing cuts in many front line services.
Now the Royals expect us to dig deeper to refurbish Buckingham Palace. The Crown’s wealth is inestimable. This is, in a word, outrageous,” says the petition addressed to the UK Chancellor. The Queen’s personal wealth is estimated at 340 million pounds and she privately owns Sandringham House and Balmoral Castle in the UK.
The petition wants the repair funds to go out from there rather than the Crown Estate revenues, which go to the UK Treasury and a percentage of which is then passed on to the Queen as a Royal Grant. The UK’s Shadow Chancellor told the BBC that a contribution from the Queen would be welcome. “It’s a public building, it’s a public monument, it’s a heritage building - so we have to invest in it to preserve it.
If the Queen and the Royal Family want to consider a contribution I certainly wouldn’t send the cheque back,” said John McDonnell. “It does show though that when we need the money for buildings and maintenance we can afford it. So we should be building homes, we should be tackling the maintenance problems that ordinary people have got as well,” he said.