President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama are looking forward to having an April 22 birthday lunch with Queen Elizabeth and a dinner with Prince William and Duchess Kate.
During the White House press briefing, Press Secretary Josh Earnest defended the trip after reporters questioned whether the pair of events next week are just a “just a celebrity get together.”
“The president’s looking forward to the opportunity that he’ll have to have lunch with the queen, but also to have a nice dinner with the duke and duchess of Cambridge,” Earnest said, “This is certainly is an important part of public diplomacy, but I think it will be one of the more pleasant aspects of the trip that the president is certainly forward to.”
The lunch with the queen will coincide with her 90th birthday, something that Earnest acknowledged during the briefing.
“She’s an important symbol of a country with whom the United States has a special relationship,” Earnest said. “But she also is a human being whose charisma and sense of nobility and honor is something that I think people around the world are attracted to.”
The White House announced on Monday that First Lady decided to join the president for the visit, following up on a series of events with the royal family. She will not join the president for his wider overseas tour which includes Saudi Arabia and Germany, but take a separate flight to meet the president when he arrives to the United Kingdom.