US President to make state visit to Britain in May

Barack Obama`s wife Michelle will join him on three-day trip on May 24-26.

Updated: Feb 18, 2011, 11:33 AM IST

London: US President Barack Obama will make a state visit to Britain in May after accepting an invitation from Queen Elizabeth II, Buckingham Palace said on Thursday.

His wife Michelle will join him on the three-day trip on May 24-26, which comes ahead of a G8 summit of world leaders in France.

Prime Minister David Cameron`s Downing Street office said: "We are very pleased that this visit is taking place. It is a sign of the strong and enduring relationship between our two countries."

It will be the first state visit to Britain by a US President since Obama`s predecessor George W Bush came in November 2003, although the queen later hosted Bush at Windsor Castle in 2008.

Obama visited London just months after being sworn in as president, for the G20 summit in April 2009.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said: "This trip will be President Obama`s first European state visit, a sign of the strength of the special relationship between our two countries and of the US` enduring commitment to its European and NATO allies and partners."

Obama and Cameron had a rocky meeting in Washington last July in the wake of the BP oil spill, but the US president concluded those talks by stating that the Anglo-American relationship remained "truly special".

Britain usually lays on one or two state visits each year, where foreign heads of states are hosted by the queen and given a full ceremonial welcome including a state banquet.

The most recent visit was by the Emir of Qatar last October.

The Obamas will stay either at the queen`s official residence of Buckingham Palace or at Windsor Castle, west of London, where the queen spends much of her time.

The visit will come less than a month after the April 29 wedding of second-in-line-to-the-throne Prince William and his fiancée Kate Middleton, for which the guest list has not yet been released.

Bureau Report