US President Donald Trump has paid a heartfelt tribute to the Queen, praising her “spirit of dignity, duty, and patriotism that beats proudly in every British heart”, after he spent the day with the “fantastic” royal family.
After the pomp and pageantry of the ceremonial welcome which clearly impressed the US leader and First Lady Melania Trump, he ended the first day of his state visit by praising the wartime strength of Britain, its people and the monarchy, in a speech delivered during a banquet staged in his honour.
The Queen, in her address, celebrated the special relationship between the UK and its closest ally America, and while Brexit was not mentioned she highlighted how the two countries faced “new challenges of the 21st century”.
But the forthcoming 75th anniversary of D-Day – the start of the Second World War liberation of Europe – reminded everyone of the achievements of Britain and American since 1944.
Mr Trump told the Buckingham Palace banquet guests, who included senior royals, captains of industry and other leading figures from national life: “As we honour 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.
“From the Second World War to today, Her Majesty has stood as a constant symbol of these priceless traditions.
“She has embodied the spirit of dignity, duty, and patriotism that beats proudly in every British heart.
“On behalf of all Americans, I offer a toast to the eternal friendship of our people, the vitality of our nations and to the long-cherished and truly remarkable reign of Her Majesty, the Queen. Thank you.”
As the guests stood up and raised their glasses Mr Trump appeared to breach accepted royal protocol by touching the Queen on the back.
He briefly and gently put his left hand out behind the monarch who seemed unperturbed.
Earlier, Mr Trump had posted a series of controversial Twitter messages, launching a tirade against the London Mayor, “fake news” and China.
But after being welcomed by the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall on the palace lawns before meeting the Queen, having lunch with the monarch and her family including the Duke of Sussex, then tea with Charles and Camilla, the president tweeted the trip was “going really well” and the royal family had been “fantastic”.
….Fake News will be working hard to find them. Great love all around. Also, big Trade Deal is possible once U.K. gets rid of the shackles. Already starting to talk!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 3, 2019
The Queen said in her speech: “As we face the new challenges of the 21st century, the anniversary of D-Day reminds us of all that our countries have achieved together.
“After the shared sacrifices of the Second World War, Britain and the United States worked with other allies to build an assembly of international institutions, to ensure that the horrors of conflict would never be repeated.
“While the world has changed, we are forever mindful of the original purpose of these structures: nations working together to safeguard a hard won peace.”