Bill Clinton Turned Down Tea With The Queen: Five Things We Learned From Recently Declassified Newspapers | UK News
Bill Clinton declined an invitation to have tea with the Queen because he “wanted to be a tourist” in London, according to recently released official documents.
The US President was visiting the UK in 1997 – four weeks later Tony Blair came to power – and said he wanted to go shopping and eat Indian food.
Previously classified documents show Mr. Clinton, Mr. Blair and their wives Hillary and Cherie ended up having dinner at a French restaurant in London Bridge – with beer and fine wine.
Memos between Whitehall associates show Mr Clinton was invited to Buckingham Palace for 5pm tea.
But a letter written by Downing Street Private Secretary Philip Barton said: “The Americans said the President and Mrs Clinton were very grateful for HM The Queen’s invitation to have tea at the palace, but would like to decline. politely.”
The restaurant bill accumulated by the Blairs and Clintons is also part of the series of files released by the National Archives at Kew, dating back to Mr. Blair’s early months in government.
They spent a total of £ 298.86 at Pont de La Tour – and the bill included £ 20 of wild salmon, £ 19.50 of grilled sole, £ 18 of halibut, a £ 2.95 Budvar beer and a bottle of Mas de Duamas 1995 wine priced at £ 34.75.
Blair and Brown tensions
The latest installment of official documents from 1997 also shows that Mr Blair’s aides wanted Gordon brownthe spin doctor of ‘on his ear’ amid fears that unauthorized briefings could damage the new Labor government.
Records suggest officials struggled to deal with tensions between the two most dominant figures in the administration from their early days in office.
Peter Mandelson – one of Mr Blair’s ministers – has repeatedly complained about the actions of Charles Whelan, who was Mr Brown’s press secretary.
Mr Whelan has been accused of sowing a series of hostile stories about Mr Mandelson which made the government “insane, if not worse”.
A frank note written to Mr Blair also suggested that Mr Brown was using his chairmanship of cabinet committees to “get through” his own policies.
Concern for Scottish independence
The now unclassified documents from 1997 also show Downing Street advisers conceded that Scotland could hold a referendum on ‘whatever it wants’ without Westminster’s consent.
Even then, key aides to the Prime Minister said that “a few very concerned Scottish MPs” were concerned about “the slippery slope to independence”.
Scotland voted in favor of decentralization in September 1997, with Labor pledging the country to be able to establish its own parliament responsible for education, health, transport and other Questions.
It was not until 2014 that an independence referendum was held, with 55% of the vote against proposals to break Scotland with the rest of the UK.
Blair’s message on famine in Ireland “written by wizards”
The documents also reveal that Mr Blair’s confession that the UK government was guilty of the Irish famine was in fact hastily written by ghosts by his aides.
At the 150th anniversary commemoration in Cork, a message was read on behalf of the Prime Minister which read: “That a million people should have died in what was then part of the richest and most powerful nation in the world. world is something that always causes pain as we reflect on it today.
“Those who ruled in London at the time let their people down by standing idly by as a bad harvest turned into a massive human tragedy.”
A request for Mr Blair’s remarks was made at the last minute, and they were approved by his private secretary as the Prime Minister was “not there at the time”.
Millennium Dome could have been a tribute to Diana
Records also reveal that plans had been considered to make the Millennium Dome a tribute to Diane, Princess of Wales – and also risked being completely scrapped.
According to the Prime Minister’s director of communications, Alastair Campbell, a member of the board of directors of the Dome had proposed that the “Millennium project be completely redesigned, the site enlarged, to accommodate, for example, a hospital, companies, associations charities, private residences and the whole thing called ‘the Princess Diana Center’. “
Separately, one of Mr Blair’s assistants said, “Diana’s death might give us a semi-plausible excuse to cancel.”
The attraction cost £ 758million and opened on December 31, 1999, but only attracted 6.5million visitors in 2000, far below the budgeted 12million.
It was later closed and replaced by The O2, which has hosted concerts, sporting events and other entertainment since 2007.