UK prepares for state visit of Barack Obama

US President Barack Obama will pay a three-day state visit to the UK this week.

The American leader and his wife Michelle are to stay in Buckingham Palace as guests of the Queen.



Some of the heaviest security measures ever seen will be put into operation when Mr Obama arrives in London on Tuesday, just three weeks after he gave the order for the operation which killed Osama bin Laden.



The heightened precautions come amid fears of a revenge attack by extremists over the al Qaida leader's death, with security services warning of the need for the world to remain vigilant.



The White House has said that the visit will be an important opportunity for Mr Obama to reaffirm the strength of the "special relationship" between Britain and the USA.



"The US and UK of course enjoy a special relationship," said deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes. "There is no closer ally for the US in the world than the UK.



"We are in absolute alignment with the British on a range of core international security interests and, of course, our deeply shared set of values that have tied us together for many decades."



The Obamas, who fly to Ireland tomorrow, will leave Dublin for the UK on Tuesday morning and head for Stansted Airport where they will be greeted by the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall.



They will be given a full ceremonial welcome in the garden of Buckingham Palace by the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh, followed by a state banquet in the Palace ballroom in the evening.



The couple are already well acquainted with their royal hosts.



They hit it off and shared jokes during a reception ahead of the G20 summit two years ago.



The Queen and the First Lady acted like old friends when they put their arms around each other at the end of the event.



This state visit - the first since George W Bush's in 2003 - is being seen as something of a sweetener for the Obamas after they missed out on an invitation to last month's royal wedding.



It is not yet confirmed whether the new Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, who are due back from their honeymoon in the Seychelles this week, will play any part in the state visit.



Mr Obama described how William and Kate's wedding left America mesmerised, and indicated he watched part of it himself when he met the Prince of Wales at the White House earlier this month.



The President and his wife will get their own first-hand look at the royal wedding venue - albeit a month too late - when they visit Westminster Abbey during their stay.



Mr Obama will also hold talks with Prime Minister David Cameron at Downing Street and address both Houses of Parliament in Westminster Hall on Wednesday.



It is rare for a foreign head of state to address both Houses in Westminster Hall, usually this is reserved for British monarchs.



Heads of state are normally received in the Queen's Robing Room or the Royal Gallery.



Last September Pope Benedict became the third visiting dignitary to address both Houses in Westminster Hall since the Second World War, following South African president Nelson Mandela in 1996 and French president Charles de Gaulle in 1960.



In contrast to Mr Obama, former US presidents Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan gave speeches in the Royal Gallery in 1995 and 1982 respectively.



President Bush was due to address both Houses during his 2003 state visit but this was cancelled due to anti-war protests.



Foreign Secretary William Hague is expected to use the visit to raise the case of Shaker Aamer - the last UK resident at Guantanamo Bay.



A return dinner will be hosted on Wednesday night at the US Ambassador's residence Winfield House for the Queen, Philip and other guests.



Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Photographer / Floorplanner / Domestic Energy Assessor

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Photographer/ Floor planner /...

Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - Surrey - £40,000

£30000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - Guildford/Craw...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Assistant

£13500 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Customer Service Assistant is...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £35,000

£16000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An ambitious and motivated Sale...

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence