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Ted R. Bromund, Ph.D., is the Margaret Thatcher senior research fellow at The Heritage Foundation. Read his research.
The White House announced Tuesday that it has accepted an invitation from Queen Elizabeth II for President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump to make a state visit to the United Kingdom.
President - Visit - June - Part - Commemorations
The president’s visit June 3 to 5 will come as part of commemorations of D-Day, the Allied invasion of German-occupied France that began the liberation of Europe in 1944. But it is also an important opportunity to re-affirm the special relationship between the United Kingdom and the United States.
You might wonder what makes a “state visit” different from a normal one. In the United States, the president is both the head of state and the leader of the government. But many countries split these positions. So in Britain, the queen is the head of state, while the prime minister is the head of the government.
US - President - Visits - Britain - Minister
Thus, when the U.S. president visits Britain and meets the prime minister, it’s a regular visit. When the president visits Britain at the invitation of the queen, and has the appropriate ceremonies—in this case, a formal welcome and lunch and dinner at Buckingham Palace—it’s a state visit.
Of course in Britain, the queen, a constitutional monarch, issues her invitations on the advice of the government. So in the end, the decision about who gets a state visit is a political one.
Couple - Trip - UK - July - Queen
The first couple’s trip to the U.K. in July 2018, during which they met the queen at Windsor Castle, was billed as a working visit.
What’s surprising is how rare it is for presidents of the...
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