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Donald Trump's visit divides Buckingham Palace crowds

By Hamish Mackay
BBC News

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image copyrightReuters
image captionDonald Trump visited the Queen at Buckingham Palace on Monday morning

Donald Trump and the Queen may come from different worlds, but few would deny they at least share an appreciation of pageantry - and that was not in short supply when the US president arrived at Buckingham Palace.

Following the Changing the Guard, Mr Trump's helicopter - Marine One - whipped up dust from nearby Green Park as it flew overhead, eagerly followed by a Mexican wave of smartphones from the crowd below.

America's leader is a man who inspires strong views on all sides - and that was evident in central London on the first day of his UK trip.

"It's our first time in London," said Laura Curri, visiting the UK with her family from Florida. "We heard Trump was going to be at the palace and we're huge fans so we came down."

Her husband, John Curri, hopes the visit will lead to "more unity" between the US and UK.

"You're leaders over here and we're leaders in our part of the world - this visit should make us both stronger," he said.

image captionThe Curri family were visiting the UK from Florida

Asked if he thinks the president is misunderstood in the UK, Mr Curri told the BBC: "People want honesty and strong leadership. I think now it has arrived people are scared - but it's here to stay."

And it is not just visitors to the UK who saw benefits in Mr Trump's visit.

Husband and wife Tony and Jennifer Holdcroft, describing themselves as "proud Brexiteers", said they made the trip down from Stoke-on-Trent "to welcome the president and combat the protesters".

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"We think he's a brilliant man," said Mrs Holdcroft. "He's straight talking, he's firm and he looks after his own people.

"This visit is about friendship, which we've had for years and years, and keeping up the alliance."

image captionTony and Jennifer Holdcroft, from Stoke, were unimpressed with Mayor of London Sadiq Khan's criticism of Mr Trump

Mr Holdcroft added: "At the end of the day, why shouldn't he come? All these people dissing him are dissing our Queen because she's the one who invited him.

"He has been invited as the president of America, not as Donald Trump."

While Mr Trump was being received by the Queen inside the palace, 100m away - in Green Park - the King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery began putting on a show of their own.

With the first deafening blast of the ceremonial guns, those waiting outside Buckingham Palace rushed over, phones outstretched ahead of them, attempting to capture the scenes.

Not everyone, however, shared in the excitement.

image copyrightAFP
image captionThe King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery perform a gun salute in Green Park, next to Buckingham Palace

Dr Abdulkadar Alzuabi, who came from Manchester to protest against Mr Trump's visit, said: "I don't think the UK should listen to him, we're different to him in this country.

"In this country, if you are British, if you are a refugee, if you are black or white, if you are European or an Arab, you are equal.

"He's trying to use his influence to change how things are in the UK. We shouldn't listen to him."

Auriel Granville - dressed as the Statue of Liberty - had made the slightly shorter trip from Wimbledon in south London, but felt just as strongly about the US president.

"I don't think he should be received in this way," she said. "Climate change should be top of our agenda and Donald Trump is a climate change denier.

"He's not listening to scientists, who are all saying it is a result of human activity."

She added: "He is doing so much damage."

image captionAuriel Granville called Donald Trump a "climate change denier" and said he was doing "so much damage" to the world

If anyone had thought Mr Trump might tone down some of his more unusual styles of diplomacy for the three-day visit, they were set straight early on Monday morning.

Moments before Air Force One landed at Stansted, Mr Trump posted two tweets criticising Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, calling him a "stone cold loser".

While some around the palace supported Mr Trump, one Londoner was so angry she had decided to come out in protest.

Jill Gillard, who emigrated to the UK from South Africa in 1979, said: "I had no intention of coming down today but then I saw his tweet about Sadiq Khan and thought: 'No, that's too much.'

"It's people like Sadiq Khan that have made me feel very welcome in this country and I feel very strongly about the discourtesy of a man who has no insight into our way of life here, which I have been very proud to embrace."

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