The Falcon & the Viper

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Part 7 Chapter 72

The large Boeing airliner, with its distinctive blue and white colour scheme, flew the same approach pattern to Heathrow Airport that the German chancellor’s Airbus had flown earlier in the week before plunging out of the sky. Air Force One, the mount of US President Donald Trump flew over the King George VI reservoir where the salvage operation was still in progress. The squeal of protest from the tyres and cloud of smoke as the airliner touched down on the runway announced the arrival of the US president for his state visit to the UK. As the Boeing taxied up to the VIP docking station, the high profile security screen surrounding the president sprang into action. The large, brash American secret service detail that had flown in earlier clashed with the reserved, discreet MI5 and Special Branch protection officers.

The Viscount Hood, Lord-in-Waiting, on behalf of her majesty, The Queen, welcomed Trump to the country. He was driven from the airport and given a full ceremonial welcome on Horse Guards Parade by the Queen and other members of the Royal Family. The Queen invited the president to inspect the Guard of Honour, which he did with pleasure as gun salutes were fired from Green Park and the Tower of London. A horse drawn carriage in a procession escorted by mounted soldiers from the Household Calvary took them to Buckingham Palace, amid loud cheers from members of the public and some jeering from protesters lining The Mall. A fine summer’s day, there was a carnival atmosphere in the air. The State Banquet that evening was a fine affair held in the Palace Ballroom, and enjoyed by over a hundred guests invited for their diplomatic, cultural and economic links with the United States.

During the visit, the president spent much of the time with Carol Dowding, the British prime minister, whom he had already formed a strong bond after her recent visit to Washington. His entourage met with government ministers to discuss trade and security matters between the two countries and the leaders of the other main political parties. The visit of the American president drew to a close and on the last evening before he flew back home, he would attend another banquet hosted by the Lord Mayor and the City of London Corporation. There, he would meet leaders of the UK’s commerce and industry in the famous, historic Guildhall.

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