In 1997, then-US President Bill Clinton paid a state visit to Britain. Tony Blair had just taken over the leadership of the country, and the Democrat wanted to greet his new colleague.
In a number of public documents, which have previously been exempt from public access, one can read that Bill and Hillary Clinton ate a better dinner with Tony and Cherie Blaire at a French restaurant near London Bridge. The menu included wild salmon and halibut, and the feast ended up costing 298 pounds.
However, it is not the dinner visit that makes the British close their eyes.
Would be a tourist
In connection with the state visit, the president was invited to afternoon tea by Queen Elizabeth herself. The documents show, however, that Clinton chose to say no to the solemn invitation.
“The Americans say that the president and Mrs. Clinton were very grateful for Her Majesty the Queen’s invitation to drink tea in the palace, but they want to politely say no,” said a letter from a secretary in Downing Street.
According to the documents, Clinton preferred to be a tourist in London, and wanted more to shop and eat at Indian restaurants than to meet the queen at Buckingham Palace.
– The president said that he “wanted to be a tourist” and expressed a desire to visit a garden, shops and Indian food, it is further stated in the letter from the secretary.
Clinton never fulfilled her dream of Indian, and had to settle for French food in the English capital.
Diana’s death gave a good idea
The documents, which Sky News has gained access to, creates headings in a number of British media. It also appears that there were major frictions between the then Prime Minister Blair and his successor Gordon Brown.
Another story that has attracted attention in the UK is related to Princess Diana’s death. The princess passed away in 1997, at the same time as the British were engaged in the costly construction of the “Millennium Dome” arena. The arena had a staggering £ 758 million budget and was set to become a financial disaster. The princess’ death, on the other hand, gave those responsible for the construction an idea:
– The Millennium project can be changed and expanded, for example by facilitating a hospital, companies, charities, private homes. The whole thing can be called the “Princess Diana Center”, suggested one of the board leaders behind the project.
One of Tony Blair’s advisers agreed:
– Diana’s death can give us a halfway good reason to cancel the project.
There was never anything from the Princess Diana Center, and the Millennium Dome ended up being a solid flop. During the opening year 2000, the arena had only 6.5 million visitors, far fewer than the 12 million that had been budgeted for. The center was later closed and replaced by the O2 arena.