Trump's UK Trip Includes Palace Pomp, Aims to Avoid Protests

Queen Elizabeth II. Image AFP

A speedy post-Brexit trade deal between Britain and the United States is a major priority for President Donald Trump, the USA ambassador to Britain said on Friday ahead of the president's visit to London next week. "He will get it done fast because I know it is a major priority for him", Johnson said.

"He'll get it done fast because I know it's a major priority for him", U.S. ambassador Woody Johnson said in a phone briefing.

They will then travel to Scotland later on Friday and spend the weekend there before leaving on Sunday for a summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin the following day in Helsinki.

Despite a series of diplomatic spats with Washington since Trump's election, the British government is keen to strike a trade deal with the United States but the visit is likely to feature major protests against the USA leader.

Johnson said Trump was "aware" of the planned protest, which will also feature a six-metre (19-foot) high balloon showing the president wearing a nappy.

Apart from Lyndon Johnson, Elizabeth has met every USA leader since Harry S Truman, but no other U.S. presidential encounter has generated the same level of controversy in Britain as Trump's trip.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan, who has been criticised by Trump for his handling of the aftermath of terror attacks in Britain, gave the go-ahead on Thursday for the giant blimp to be flown near the British parliament.

The couple will then stay at Winfield House, the United States ambassador's residence on the edge of Regent's Park in London.

Asked whether the President's schedule was created to keep him away from possible protests, a Downing Street spokeswoman said: "Prime ministers frequently make use of Chequers for meetings with foreign leaders". Trump's wife, Melania, will have a separate itinerary and will be hosted by May's husband Philip. The entrepreneur Martha Lane Fox told the FT: "I understand why the government have to entertain Trump but I certainly don't want to".

He was severely criticised last November, including by Prime Minister Theresa May, after sharing three inflammatory anti-Muslim videos posted by far-right group Britain First.

The monumental 18th-century country house, built for the first Duke of Marlborough as a reward for his military victories, was the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill, a personal hero of the president.

He will be greeted with military pomp, including a welcome by bands of the Irish, Scots and Welsh Guards.

Hosted by the Prime Minister, guests at the dinner will include leaders of United Kingdom business sectors including financial services, travel, creative industries, food and drink, engineering, tech, infrastructure, pharmaceuticals and defence.

During the dinner, the Countess of Wessex's Orchestra will perform a series of classic British and American hits.

He said the highlight will be the chance for the president and first lady to meet the queen.

On Friday morning (July 13), Trump and May will visit a defence site to witness a demonstration of the UK's military capabilities and integrated UK-US military training. This will include a working lunch. Later Friday the president will travel to Windsor Castle, west of London, for an audience with Queen Elizabeth II.

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