Obamas Prepare to Meet Queen Elizabeth

Obamas Prepare to Meet Queen Elizabeth
From left: Barack and Michelle Obama, Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip
INF; Mark Cuthbert/Empics Entertainment/Abaca

04/01/2009 08:30AM

It's the most sought-after audience in London, and President Obama has already said it will be the highlight of his and Michelle's visit: afternoon tea on Wednesday at Buckingham Palace.

The first couple will take tea -- or coffee, if they prefer -- with Queen Elizabeth, 82, and her husband Prince Philip, 87, in private, with no aides or members of the media present.

The quiet, get-to-know-you chat between the heads of state will be a peaceful change from the excitement that has greeted the couple on their first visit to the U.K. since January's inauguration. The meeting, expected to take around 20 minutes, precedes a special reception at the palace for all the leaders of the G20 nations, who have gathered in London for a summit Thursday.

The President, 47, said at a press conference after meeting with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, "There's one last thing I should mention that I love about Great Britain, and that's the Queen, so I am very much looking forward to meeting her for the first time later this evening."

He added, "As you might imagine, Michelle has been really thinking about it, too. I think in the imagination of people throughout America, what the Queen stands for, her decency and her civility and what she represents, is very important."

Style-watchers will also be eager to see what designs and colors the fashionable 45-year-old First Lady – who reportedly donned J. Crew for her first day's work in London, visiting a cancer hospital – chooses for the afternoon and evening events.

For Wednesday's dinner at 10 Downing Street with the prime minister, Michelle Obama is expected to be seated with Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling and British Olympian Dame Kelly Holmes.

Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, whose wife Jools is expecting the couple's third child any day now, and a group of graduates from his Fifteen restaurants group is preparing the dinner. "I'm very, very proud of my country and its food traditions, and I know that the guests at Downing Street will be in for a real treat," said Oliver.
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