The Queen is expected to invite US President Donald Trump for a state visit in June, senior Whitehall sources have said.
Downing Street and the White House are likely to make a formal announcement within days following secret talks, reports The Sunday Times.
© Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited The Queen had former US President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle for a state visit
The visit, which is expected to coincide with the 75th anniversary of D-Day, follows a rare meeting between the Queen and US ambassador Woody Johnson which is thought to have taken place last month.
Donald Trump also plans to visit France in the same month to commemorate the country’s liberation by allied forces during the Second World War.
© Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited A proposed state visit would follow Trump’s previous two-day working visit with first lady Melania last year where they met the Queen at Windsor castle (pictured)
The US President previously came to the UK for a two-day working visit in July last year, but this was not a state visit as it wasn’t hosted by the Queen.
During the visit the American President was treated to dinner at Blenheim Palace with Prime Minister Theresa May, and a meeting with the 92-year-old monarch at Windsor castle, before jetting off to Scotland to play golf.
© Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited The Queen and Trump also inspected the Guard of Honour during his previous visit
A full state visit for the US president and the first lady, however, could look very different.
It is understood a state visit would begin with a welcome from Elizabeth II at Horse Guards Parade in London and an inspection of the Guard of Honour, before a carriage procession to Buckingham Palace escorted by mounted soldiers from the Household Cavalry.
© Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited It is thought the 92-year-old monarch had dinner with US ambassador to the UK Woody Johnson last monthGun salutes would also be fired for the state visit from Green Park and the Tower of London.
After arriving at the Palace, the guests are invited to a State Banquet held in the Ballroom, with around 150 guests who have important cultural, diplomatic or economic links to the country being hosted.
For the next few days, the visitor would then meet the British Prime Minister, Government ministers and leaders of the main political parties.
They may also attend a banquet hosted by the Lord Mayor and City of London Corporation where they will meet industry leaders.
© Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited During the two-day working visit Trump and Melania also had dinner at Blenheim Palace with Theresa May and her husband Philip
President Barack Obama, King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia and Chinese President Xi Jinping are among those to have also received state visits.
Donald Trump and first lady Melania were first invited by the monarch for a full state visit within weeks of entering the White House, at the suggestion of Downing Street.
The offer was accepted, but Mr Trump pulled out amid fears over widespread protests.
A second plan for the President to open the new US Embassy in London last February was also abandoned.
© Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Previous state visitors have included Chinese President Xi Jinping and King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia
Who has visited the UK on a state visit since 2013?
2017, July – King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia, Spain
2015, October – President Xi Jinping and Madame Peny Liyuan, China
2015, March – President Enrique PEna Nieto and Senora Angelica Rivera de Pena, Mexico
2014, October – President Tony Tan Keng Yam and Mrs Tan Keng Yam, Singapore
2014, April – President Michael Higgins and Mrs Sabina Higgins, Ireland
2013, November – President Park Guen-hye, South Korea
2013, April to May – President Khalifa bin Zayed Sultan Al Nahyan, United Arab Emirates
His previous visit was, however, marked by large scale protests in London.
More than 100,000 people – including Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn – took to the streets to protest against his politics, but the visit largely passed off without any major incidents.
© Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited The King of Saudi Arabia has also come for a state visit and was taken in a royal carriage during the procession to Buckingham Palace
Buckingham Palace, which is understood to be aware of the announcement, did not officially reveal details of the dinner between the Queen and US ambassador last month, saying they would not comment on a ‘private’ engagement.
The pair are thought to have dined at Winfield House, the imposing Regent’s Park residence of America’s leading official in the UK.
The elderly Queen seldom undertakes ‘secret’ dinners of this nature any more and if she were to do so, it would normally be held at one of her own royal residences, namely Buckingham Palace or Windsor Castle.
The fact that she was willing to go to see the ambassador at his own home is a sign of how significant the event was.
© Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Queen Elizabeth II pictured wearing a diamond and sapphire necklace and earrings that were a gift from King Abdullah when he was crown prince at a dinner hosted for the King’s state visit
Woody Johnson is a personal friend of Donald Trump and was nominated by him to be the official ‘Ambassador to the Court of St. James’s’ in 2017.
Said to be worth around $4 billion, Mr Johnson – an heir to the Johnson & Johnson fortune – is a businessman and philanthropist who runs a private assets firm in New York as well as owning the city’s football team.
Significantly, Johnson is also serving as vice chairman of Trump’s victory committee and hosted numerous fundraisers for his presidential campaign.
In January this year, however, he broke diplomatic protocol, attacking Prime Minister Theresa May on Radio 4 by saying that Britain was in ‘need of leadership’ over Brexit.
© Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Buckingham Palace did not officially revealed details of the meeting with Robert ‘Woody’ Johnson (pictured) and a spokeswoman for the Queen said that they would not comment on a ‘private’ engagement
Intriguingly he posted pictures of the British and American flags on his official Twitter feed with the message: ‘Sec @LiamFox is right to outline the strengths of a future U.S.-UK trade deal. We want a free trade agreement with the UK that incentivizes [sic] Free, Fair and Reciprocal Trade. Result? Real growth in jobs and prosperity on both sides of the Atlantic! #SharedProsperity’.
The Mail was told in February that Donald Trump could return to the UK for a State visit as soon as this summer.
Although no firm dates have been set, diplomatic sources have said high level discussions are taking place about the US President coming back mid-way through the year.
Officials are already said to be working on a plan for a full ‘bells and whistles’ visit lasting up to a week following Mr Trump’s short working trip last summer.
The visit is also being lined up to coincide with the start of negotiations over a post-Brexit trade deal.
A second visit in the space of 12 months would be a major boost to US/UK relations.