State Visit from the President of Russia: June 24-27, 2003

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Heir Apparent
Jan 14, 2003
The Queen with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Tony Blair, Jack Straw and David Blunkett at Horse Guards for the ceremonial welcome at the start of Russian President Vladimir Putin's state visit.
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Polfoto 25-06-2003 TAS02. LONDON, GREAT BRITAIN.JUNE 25. President Vladimir Putin (2nd right), his wife Lyudmila (2nd left), Queen Elizabeth II ® and the Duke of Edinburgh (L) pictured before official dinner at the Buckingham Palace on Tuesday, June,25. (Photo ITAR-TASS / Alexei Panov)


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Queen Hosts Lavish Reception for Russian Premier

The Queen had an historic meeting with Vladimir Putin on Tuesday during president's trip to the UK - the first official Russian visit to Britain in 129 years. It was an occasion greeted by an impressive display of pomp and pageantry.

Upon arrival the former KGB officer was met at Heathrow Airport by Prince Charles, who accompanied him to the centre of London where he was presented to Prime Minister Tony Blair. The Queen herself then joined the president for a ceremonial procession down The Mall, before hosting a state banquet in his honour. The last Russian leader to be afforded such hospitality was Tsar Alexander II in 1874.

The visit is being taken as a sign of warming relations between Russia and the UK. And Mr Putin certainly seemed to be at ease, as he broke with royal protocol in taking Her Majesty by the arm to assist her out of a carriage at Buckingham Palace.

His hostess didn't seem at all perturbed, however, and even commented on the improvement in relations between Britain and Russia since the war in Iraq. "It is, I believe, a sign of genuine friendship that we can have disagreements but remain firm partners," she said.

Her guest reciprocated the gesture by saying a few words in English, something he almost never agrees to. Commenting on the loss of six British troops on Tuesday, he said: "I would like to express to Her Majesty the Queen and the people of the UK our sincere condolences over the loss of the British soldiers in Iraq."

A 21-gun-salute was also sounded to welcome the Russian premiere, and Prince Philip returned a cherished memento from the Russian Army - the Colour of the Russian Life Guards Grenadier Regiment - which has been in British possession for many years.


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Russian leader in contact with the Queen
By James Hardy Political Editor

HE'S the first Russian leader to make a state visit to Britain for 129 years and Vladimir Putin yesterday seemed a little out of touch with our customs.

He boldly took the Queen's arm as they stepped from a carriage at Buckingham Palace.

But she didn't seem to notice the breach of etiquette.

Mr Putin and his wife Lyudmila will stay at the Palace as the Queen's guests during their four day trip.

Mr Putin's visit is the first since Tsar Alexander II came to London in 1874 for the marriage of his daughter Marie Alexandrovna to Queen Victoria's second son Prince Alfred.

Officials pulled out all the stops to make Mr Putin welcome. Prince Charles met him at Heathrow airport.

They were 15 minutes late getting into Central London after being stuck in traffic but the Queen waited patiently. She passed her time at Horse Guards Parade chatting to top brass and politicians. Twice she bent down to pat guide dog Sadie and had a long chat with owner Home Secretary David Blunkett.

Other VIPs included Tony Blair and Foreign Secretary Jack Straw. Mr Putin will meet the Prime Minister tomorrow for talks aimed at healing the rift over the Iraq war.

But at a state banquet last night the Queen made the first inroads into patching up the divide.

She said: "Mr President, it is I believe a sign of genuine friendship that we are able to have disagreements but remain firm partners.

"It is no secret that there were significant differences between our two countries earlier this year on how best to handle Iraq.

"But we are now able to look forward together, firmly in agreement on the route we have decided in the United Nations."

After guests had enjoyed truffles, salmon and chicken in champagne, the Queen also praised Mr Putin's record at home. She said: "You personally have been energetic and determined in promoting reform in Russia.

"In particular, your dedication to the task of reforming and strengthening Russia's economy, so improving the quality of life for ordinary Russians, wins our real admiration.

"We support your efforts to create a modern, prosperous and dynamic state."

Earlier in the day, Mr Putin had arrived at Horse Guards to a 21-gun salute and inspected the ceremonial guard of honour, the Nijmegen Company, Grenadier Guards.

Mrs Putin then rode with Prince Philip, while her husband travelled with the Queen, in a horse drawn carriage procession from the Mall to Buckingham Palace escorted by the Household Cavalry. Security was tight after the breach at Prince William's birthday party on Saturday.

The Scots Guards played the Russian and British national anthems as the carriages arrived at the Palace. Mr Putin later went to Westminster Abbey where he laid a wreath on the grave of the unknown warrior.


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    8.7 KB · Views: 1,107 - President of Russia Vladimir Putin (news - web sites) and his wife Lyudmila, center, are greeted by The Lord Mayor of London Gavyn Arthur and the Lady Mayoress Carole Blackshaw, left, and Prince and Princess Michael of Kent, right, on their arrival for the Lord Mayor's banquet at the Guildhall, Wednesday June 25, 2003. ( AP Photo/POOL Stefan Rousseau )


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    56 KB · Views: 1,195 - Russian President Vladimir Putin (news - web sites), right, speaks to Britain's Princess Michael of Kent, as they take their places for dinner at the Guildhall in the City of London, Wednesday, June 25, 2003, during a banquet in honour of the President and his wife. (AP Photo/Richard Lewis)


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    45.4 KB · Views: 446 - Russian President and Wife Llyudmila Putina arrive in London for the start of the 4 day state visit. Queen Elisabeth greeted the president on horseguards in London for the ceremonial arrival. Duke of Edimbourg and wife of Vladimir Putin 06/24/2003. Russian President state visit to Great Britain © Ian Jones / Gamma 739242


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Polfoto 26-06-2003 TAS05: LONDON, GREAT BRITAIN, JUNE 26. Russian President Vladimir Putin and his wife Lyudmila (centre) , Lord-Mayor of London City Gavin Arthur (left) and his wife (right) and Prince and Princess Michael of Kent (in the background) seen posing for a memory photo prior to the banquet held in the Guildhall Wednesday evening. Putin is the first Russian leader in the last 150 years for whom the Lord Mayor has given an official reception attended by 750 people. (Photo ITAR-TASS/ Sergei Velichkin)


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    30.7 KB · Views: 1,064 - Russian President and wife arrive for the banquet at the Guildhall in the city of London. The Banquet hosted by the Lord mayor of London and attended by and Princess Michael of Kent 06/25/2003. State visit of Russian President and wife to Great Britain © Ian Jones / Gamma


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Last edited by a moderator: - Russian President and wife arrive for the banquet at the Guildhall in the city of London. The Banquet hosted by the Lord mayor of London and attended by TRH Prince Michael of Kent 06/25/2003. State visit of Russian President and wife to Great Britain © Ian Jones / Gamma 739337


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    21.1 KB · Views: 1,176 - President Putin Hosts Banquet
June 26, 2003 London, England, United Kingdom --- Russian President Vladimir Putin and his wife Lyudmila host a return banquet for Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Philip and other Royals at Spencer House, owned by the ancestors of Lady Diana Spencer.


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