Sunday, May 1, 2016

Queen banned Obama’s fleet of helicopters from landing on Windsor Castle lawn - Charles D'Alberto

Charles D'Alberto

Her majesty called the US president’s bevy of choppers “over the top”, meaning the Secret Service had to rethink their plans to land about six aircraft in the 300-year-old gardens of her main residence during his tour of the UK this week.

The Queen put her foot down and said there was no chance his extensive security backup would be accompanying him to Windsor Castle.

She said only three helicopters, including the president’s personal aircraft Marine One, could land on the lawn when Mr Obama, 54, and his wife, Michelle, 52, came for dinner with the Queen and Prince Philip to celebrate her 90th birthday.

Her insistence came after the president’s helicopters damaged the grass when half a dozen of them landed during his last visit in 2011.

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The Queen’s security paled in comparison to Mr Obama’s extensive entourage

The engines’ heat scorched the grounds and the wheels left divots in one of the UK’s oldest lawns, planted during the reign of Queen Anne in the early 1700s.

One royal source told the Daily Star Sunday: “It was a write-off and the Queen was not amused.”
An insider said US aides refused to change their plans on security grounds but came around to the Queen’s wishes eventually.

They said: “Various US aides said that wouldn’t be possible.

“The President has a small army of Secret Service agents who follow him all over.
“They said they needed to be within reach of the president at all times.

“They also wanted guards posted inside the dining hall when he had lunch with the Queen.

“But Her Majesty refused to back down and said, ‘three helicopters only’.

“The Secret Service had to go away and think about their plan. The President’s officials were told that the Queen regarded Windsor Castle as her family home and the most important of all royal residences.

“They were told that the Queen was particularly sensitive to any potential damage to the castle and grounds.

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Charles D'Alberto
Prince Philip drove the Obamas and the Queen from the lawn to the castle

“Eventually the President’s aides accepted her wishes.

“She rarely imposes her will but when she does people listen – it just took the US Secret Service agents a little time to realise that.”

Yesterday, Obama took part in a question and answer session with young people at Westminster’s Royal Horticultural Halls where he thanked the Queen for lunch the previous day and said how “adorable” Prince George was when he went to Kensington Palace for dinner with Prince William, Kate and Prince Harry the evening before.

It came the day after he urged Britain to remain in the European Union (EU), prompting a backlash from British politicians saying he should stay out of it.

Upon the US head of state’s arrival last week, London’s airspace went into lockdown, with all drones and private aircraft banned from flying into the capital while his plane was airborne.
A fleet of US F-22 Raptor combat jets were on standby to shoot down any potential threat.
Obama will head to Germany and Saudi Arabia after his UK visit.

Posted By Charles D'Alberto