President Obama rounded off the first day of his official visit to the UK with a game of ping pong with David Cameron and attending a state banquet given by the queen in his honour.
After spending the morning visiting Westminster Abbey and a quick cuppa with Prime Minister Cameron at 10 Downing St the two headed off to the Globe Academy in Lambeth for a spot of ping pong where the two most powerful leaders in the free world were soundly defeated by two teenage boys.
In the evening Obama attended a state banquet as the Queen’s guest of honour at Buckingham palace, where he and his wife have been staying.
At the banquet the queen thanked America for twice coming to the rescue of the “free world” in two world wars.She said: “Your visit to this country inevitably reminds us of our shared history, our common language, and our strong intellectual and cultural links.”
“It also reminds us that your country twice came to the rescue of the free and democratic world when it was facing military disaster,” she continued.
“On each occasion, after the end of those destructive wars, the generosity of the United States made a massive contribution to our economic recovery. Today the United States remains our most important ally and our two nations contribute to the security and prosperity of our peoples, and of the world, through shared national interests.”
The Queen toasted the leader of the free world: “Ladies and gentlemen, we are here to celebrate the tried, tested and – yes – special relationship between our two countries.”
Obama responded by praising the two the nations’ bond:
“Our relationship never rested as we approach the 10th anniversary of 9/11. I am particularly grateful for the solidarity that the UK has shown in the last decade. From that day to this you have been our closest partner.”
But after a day of meet and greets Obama will now have to do a bit more heavy lifting. He will spend the morning holding in-depth talks on issues ranging from the military interventions in Libya and Afghanistan to terrorism and global economic reform and will deliver a keynote speech to the houses of Parliament in Westminster Hall in the afternoon.
Obama visits Westminster Abbey