LONDON – Queen Elizabeth II will travel to the summit of the Group of Seven in south-west England on Friday, adding some strength to the offensive of diplomatic charm as Prime Minister Boris Johnson welcomes the “indestructible relationship” between Britain and the United States.
Although there should always have been a royal presence at the G-7 summit in the small coastal town of Cornish Carbis Bay, the queen’s arrival was a surprise.
She will join the leaders of the G7 countries – the United States, Canada, Japan, the United Kingdom, Germany, France and Italy – for dinner as they seek to weed through the tensions undermining the event and present a united front in the quest. to rejuvenate the besieged West.
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The White House has also made it clear that it sees the trip as a chance to gather allies around the cause of liberal democracy against what Biden sees as an authoritarian threat from Russia and China.
The Queen’s unexpected presence, 95, means she will join Prince Charles, Prince William and Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, to receive leaders in the Eden project, a tropical garden built under a pile of huge bio-domes.
Charles, the heir to the throne and climate activist, will host a reception for leaders and prominent executives, “to discuss how the private sector can work with governments to deal with climate emergencies,” Buckingham Palace said in a statement.
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The Duchess of Cambridge also met with Jill Biden on Friday to travel to a local school.
Asked if she had any wishes for her new niece Lilibet Diana, Kate replied that he wished her “all the best”.
“I can’t wait to meet her,” she added. “We haven’t met her yet. I hope this happens soon.”
Asked if she had encountered Harry and Megan’s daughter since she was born last week, Kate said she hadn’t.
The arrival of top-level royalty is the most powerful soft power weapon Britain can offer, even if the royal brand has been hit by a family crisis.
The country is hosting the international show as it seeks to redefine its international role following a sharp withdrawal from the European Union last year.
The Queen is Britain’s longest reigning monarch and has met with every US president present since Harry Truman, with the exception of Lyndon Johnson.
The first lady will also travel with the president to Windsor Castle to meet with the queen on Sunday after the summit, as previously announced.
Biden will be the 13th American leader she has congratulated, covering decades of what has historically been called a “special relationship” between Washington and London.
It was revealed this week that British Prime Minister Boris Johnson did not like the phrase, saying that an aide had said he felt he sounded needy.
Instead, on Friday, Johnson described the Anglo-American relationship as “an indestructible link.”
“This is a relationship that has lasted a very long time and has been an important part of peace and prosperity both in Europe and around the world,” he told the BBC, also calling it a “deep and meaningful relationship”.
The president has repeatedly used the term “special relationship” despite his colleague’s dislike of him.
“We have reaffirmed the special relationship – not to say lightly – the special relationship between our people,” he said on Thursday after a meeting the two sides hailed as a success.
Johnson described working with Biden as “a big breath of fresh air.”
But the summit was far from stressless.
Before even landing on British soil, the Biden administration issued a stern warning to Johnson not to allow Brexit to threaten peace in Northern Ireland.
Tensions in the countryside have risen as, in the eyes of some, Brexit has weakened ties with Britain and risked drawing it closer to the orbit of the Republic of Ireland, a separate country to the south.
This risks renewing decades of conflict between predominantly Catholic “nationalists” – who want Northern Ireland to reunite with the Republic of Ireland – and especially Protestant “unionists” – who want the region to remain part of Britain.
Biden, who has an Irish heritage, warned that the United States did not want to see any threat to the Good Friday Agreement, a landmark 1998 1998 peace deal, aided in part by the United States.
On Thursday night, French President Emmanuel Macron also punished Britain’s attempts to renegotiate aspects of Brexit involving Northern Ireland. Britain’s attempts to do so have become a major point of friction with the EU
“Nothing can be renegotiated,” Macron told a news conference.
Andrea Mitchell contributed.