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Trump to meet Queen Elizabeth during UK visit

WASHINGTON: U.S. President Donald Trump plans to meet with Queen Elizabeth II during a state visit to the United Kingdom next month, a U.S. ambassador said Wednesday.

Details about the trip, scheduled to take place on Friday, July 13, have yet to be finalized, but Robert Wood Johnson, the U.S. ambassador to Britain, told Sky News that Trump “has to” meet the 92-year-old monarch.

“Yes, I mean he has to see the head of state. Putting his foot on British soil, it’s job one, it’s very important, very symbolic,” Johnson told a reporter when asked about Trump’s plans.

A U.S. ambassador to Britain has insisted that President Donald Trump “has to” meet Queen Elizabeth II, seen here attending a garden party at Buckingham Palace in May.

“Meeting Her Majesty is the most important thing because she’s the head of state, and from then on, it’ll be what the president wants to do,” Johnson said.

British Prime Minister Theresa May confirmed Wednesday that she is also planning to meet with Trump next month, even as she condemned his administration’s policy of separating migrant families along the U.S.-Mexico border.

“The pictures of children being held in what appear to be cages are deeply disturbing,” she told members of Parliament. “This is wrong. This is not something that we agree with. This is not the United Kingdom’s approach.”

She added that when she meets with Trump in July, she will be open with him about her concerns.

Trump on Wednesday signed an executive order seeking to replace the family separation policy with one that would detain parents and children together. The viability of that order is uncertain.

Trump had planned to travel to London in January to celebrate the opening of the city’s new U.S. embassy building but canceled that trip. His upcoming visit in July is expected to draw protests.

The possibility of Trump visiting the U.K. has been discussed since he took office in January 2017. Britain’s Stop Trump Coalition in London is already planning a protest for the president’s upcoming visit. Other events are expected across the country, the group said.

A 2017 petition signed by more than 1 million people demanded that Trump is denied a visit with the queen, arguing that his “well-documented misogyny and vulgarity” would “embarrass Her Majesty.”

The petition led to Parliament debating whether the government should rescind its invitation to Trump. The petition had the support of London Mayor Sadiq Khan, who has criticized Trump’s proposal to ban people from Muslim-majority countries.

Earlier this year, Trump canceled a trip to London to celebrate the opening of the city’s new U.S. embassy building, saying he disapproved of the location and the embassy’s price. British news outlets reported that the White House was worried about demonstrations against his visit.

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