POLITICS

Obama to Meet Privately With Queen in London

President Obama is expected to be granted an audience with the Queen when he comes to London next month for talks on global efforts to tackle the recession.

Such a move would be unusual, since Obama will be in London not on a state visit but for a meeting with leaders of leading industrialized countries, the so-called G20.

The Queen is said to be keen to see Obama, having met ten of his predecessors. The only man to have occupied the White House during her reign whom she did not meet was Lyndon B. Johnson.

Plans are being discussed for Obama to be granted an audience at Buckingham Palace on April 1, the day before the conference formally begins. The president's visit to London, and the G20 summit, are central to Gordon Brown's plans for responding to the recession.

He returned from Washington early yesterday in a bullish mood, believing that he had won Obama's support for agreements to tighten up banking regulation when the G20 leaders meet in London Docklands.

Before Brown's chartered jet was an hour out of the American capital, Obama was on the telephone congratulating him on his speech to Congress and talking about the next G20 steps.

During the ten-minute conversation Obama thanked Brown for the gifts he presented during his visit and told the Prime Minister that his present of a penholder made from the timbers of HMS Gannet, a 19th-century anti-slaving ship, has been placed on the presidential desk in the Oval Office. Obama gave the Prime Minister a boxed set of 25 classic American films.

Brown plans to step up the pressure for a global deal on the recession during the next two weeks with a visit to South America to talk to key leaders there, including those of Chile and Brazil. Yesterday he briefed European leaders, including President Sarkozy of France, on his White House discussions.

Continue reading at the Times of London