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The Prince and the President: William greets Obama and Michelle at the Palace as tanned Kate takes to Royal duties like a natural
By JAMES WHITE
©Newlyweds: Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge, back from their honeymoon, meet with the First couple inside Buckingham Palace
President and First Lady flew to London a day early due to ash cloud fears
Just third state visit by U.S. President to Britain in 100 years
Obama and Cameron vow to support 'Arab Spring' uprising
Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge today welcomed the President of the United States to Buckingham Palace in their first big test as a Royal couple.
Fresh from their Seychelles honeymoon, a well-tanned Duchess of Cambridge performed her Royal duties with aplomb as she spoke to Mr and Mrs Obama in a 10-minute private meeting.
There were smiles all round moments earlier when the Obamas arrived at Buckingham Palace and were met by the Queen and Prince Philip.
©Sorry we couldn't make the wedding: The couples chat and no doubt the recent Royal marriage ceremony was a topic of conversation
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Friendly: The couples met before President Obama was the subject of a 41-gun salute
They arrived in the Presidential limousine known as The Beast, which pulled into the front of Buckingham Palace just before noon.
After the meeting of the heads of state, the Obamas spent about 10 minutes speaking with Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge, before meeting more Royal figures.
Senior members of the Queen's household were introduced to the Obamas in the Bow room.
Among them were the Queen's private secretary Christopher Geidt, her treasurer Sir Alan Reed, master of the household Air Vice Marshall David Walker, and the Lord Chamberlain Earl Peel.
Others who met the president and his wife included Brigadier Archie Miller-Bakewell, Philip's private secretary, Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Ford, comptroller of the Lord Chamberlain's Office, and a number of ladies-in-waiting to the Queen including Virginia Ogilvy, Countess of Airlie.
©Having a giggle: The Duchess of Cambridge and Michelle Obama enjoy a brief moment of hilarity during their meeting
©Meet and greet: The Queen welcomes Barack Obama to Buckingham Palace, watched by his wife Michelle and Prince Philip
©Old friends reunited: Two years on from their last meeting, the Obamas and the Queen and Prince Philip look pleased to see one another
The Obamas were then taken to Buckingham Palace Gardens where they faced with a guard of honour, 101 soldiers from the 1st Battalion, Scots Guards, and three officers lined up in two rows. Behind them were the Band, Pipes and Drums of the Scots Guard.
The air was shattered by the noise of booming gunfire as a 41-gun salute was begun by the King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery in nearby Green Park while simultaneously at the Tower of London another was fired by the Honourable Artillery Company.
The guardsmen gave a royal salute and then the American national anthem was played in honour of the US president.
©Hold on to your hats! The windy weather plays havoc with the Royal party
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Ceremonial welcome: The Obamas are joined by members of the Royal Family to hear the U.S. national anthem
The British National Anthem was not performed as the Queen is in residence at the palace and so it was needed to mark her arrival at the historic building.
Major Rory Shannon, in command of the guard of honour, approached the heads of state and formally stated that the troops were ready for inspection. Mr Obama, with the Duke, then walked down the terrace steps to the waiting soldiers in their bearskins and scarlet tunics.
The major escorted the president along the two lines of guardsmen as Philip followed a pace behind.
The U.S. leader could be seen exchanging words with the senior officer as they passed the troops who, when not performing ceremonial duties, are fighting soldiers.
©Guard of honour: Prince Philip accompanies Mr Obama as they inspect soldiers of the Household Cavalry in Buckingham Palace Gardens
©Protection: The heavily-armoured Presidential limousine arrives at Buckingham Palace
At the end of the inspection, Mr Obama took his place beside the Queen and watched as the guardsmen marched off before the party headed inside for lunch.
Earlier the President declared the UK-U.S. partnership 'an essential relationship for us and for the world'.
But he began his visit today by making a solemn statement about the loss of life in Joplin, Missouri, where a tornado claimed 116 lives on Sunday night.
The U.S. president flew into Stansted airport ahead of schedule last night to avoid the possibility of disruption to air travel from the ash cloud from an erupting Icelandic volcano.
He had been due to fly from Ireland on board Air Force One this morning to be greeted at the Essex airport by the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall.
But the decision was taken to bring forward the visit after the announcement of cancellations to some UK commercial flights due to the ash billowing from the Grimsvotn volcano - with more disruption expected in the days to come.
©Arrival: Crowds strain to take pictures of the Presidential limousine, accompanied by police outriders, as it arrives at Buckingham Palace
©Welcoming party: President Obama, left with Prince Charles, and First Lady Michelle, right with the Duchess of Cornwall, leave the U.S. Ambassador's residence Winfield House today
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Relaxed: The President enjoys a joke with Prince Charles, left, while Michelle Obama and the Duchess of Cornwall are deep in conversation
The state visit - only the third by a U.S. president to the UK in 100 years - comes at a time of close co-operation between Britain and America on issues ranging from Libya to Afghanistan, counter-terrorism and the Middle East peace process.
This strong partnership was reflected in a joint article written by Mr Obama and Prime Minister David Cameron for The Times, in which they declare: 'Ours is not just a special relationship, it is an essential relationship - for us and for the world.'
After his early arrival, Mr Obama was spending the night in the US ambassador's residence in London, Winfield House in Regent's Park.
©Solemn: Barack Obama began his British visit today by making a statement about the appalling loss of life in Joplin, Missouri, where a tornado left at least 116 people dead
Despite the hasty change to their planned schedule, Mr Obama and wife Michelle were still given the formal welcome expected of a state visit.
They were greeted by the Lord in Waiting Viscount Brookeborough, who met them on behalf of the Queen.
Instead of a traditional red carpet they left the plane on special red-carpeted stairs because of windy conditions at the airport.
Later today the Obamas will view the royal picture gallery before a wreath-laying visit to Westminster Abbey and a state banquet in the evening.
The couple will stay as guests of the Queen at Buckingham Palace tonight and tomorrow.
Tomorrow will be devoted to politics, with talks between Mr Obama and Mr Cameron at 10 Downing Street, followed by an address to both Houses of Parliament, in which the president is expected to say that the US has no closer ally in the world than Britain.
In their joint article, Mr Obama and Mr Cameron put the transatlantic partnership at the heart of the drive for global stability and prosperity.
©Hello Britain: President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle step off Air Force One as they arrive at London Stansted Airport last night
©Touchdown: Air Force One arrives at Stansted Airport, London ahead of schedule due to fears volcanic ash would spread over Britain today
'When the United States and Britain stand together, our people and people around the world can become more secure and more prosperous,' they wrote.
'And that is the key to our relationship. Yes, it is founded on a deep emotional connection, by sentiment and ties of people and culture.
'But the reason it thrives, the reason why this is such a natural partnership, is because it advances our common interests and shared values.
'It is a perfect alignment of what we both need and what we both believe. And the reason it remains strong is because it delivers time and again.
'Ours is not just a special relationship, it is an essential relationship - for us and for the world.'
They also promised not to abandon the protesters fighting for democracy in the 'Arab Spring'.
©Flying the flag: British and American colours stand along The Mall leading to Buckingham Palace in preparation for the visit
'We will not stand by as their aspirations get crushed in a hail of bombs, bullets and mortar fire,' said the two leaders.
'We are reluctant to use force, but when our interests and values come together, we know we have a responsibility to act...
'We will stand with those who want to bring light into dark, support those who seek freedom in place of repression, aid those laying the building blocks of democracy.'
It comes after Foreign Secretary William Hague and US secretary of state Hillary Clinton sent out a message to Syria's President Bashar Assad to halt his regime's repression of pro-democracy activists.
Speaking to American reporters shortly before Mr Obama's arrival, Mr Cameron said there was 'an incredible alignment of views' between his administration and the White House on key global issues, including the military mission in Libya, the uprisings of the Arab Spring, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
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'Smile, honey. We'll be meeting the Queen and that hat cost a lot of money.'
And he paid lavish tribute to Mr Obama's style, saying that as well as being 'courageous' over issues such as Osama bin Laden, he was also 'thoughtful, measured and serious'.
The current closeness of the UK-U.S. relationship was remarked upon at a joint press conference following talks between Mr Hague and Mrs Clinton at the Foreign Office.
Mrs Clinton joked: 'If there were any closer alignment, we would worry about each other.'
The two leaders are expected to drop in on a barbecue being hosted by their wives Michelle and Samantha for families of military personnel involved in joint UK-U.S. missions overseas.
Mr Obama is due to travel on to France on Thursday morning for the G8 summit of leading industrialised nations in Deauville, also being attended by Mr Cameron.
Raw Video: Obamas Visit Buckingham Palace

source: dailymail