The Queen is believed to be attending a private dinner with the US Ambassador in the UK, Woody Johnson, on March 14
The Queen is set to enjoy a rare private dinner with the US Ambassador next month, in a move which could pave the way for a full state visit by US President Donald Trump.
The 92-year-old monarch will, unusually, dine with Robert ‘Woody’ Johnson at Winfield House, the imposing Regent’s Park residence of America’s leading official in the UK.
Buckingham Palace has not officially revealed details of the meeting and a spokeswoman for the Queen said yesterday that they would not comment on a ‘private’ engagement.
The secret dinner could be in order to pave the way for a full state visit by US President Donald Trump following his last visit in July last year (pictured)
The fact that the Queen is willing to go to see the ambassador at his own home is a sign of how significant the private dinner is
But the Mail understands that the dinner is due to take place on March 14.
The elderly Queen seldom undertakes ‘secret’ dinners of this nature any more and if she were to do so, it would normally be held at one of her own royal residences, namely Buckingham Palace or Windsor Castle.
The fact that she is willing to go to see the ambassador at his own home is a sign of how significant the event is.
Buckingham Palace has not officially revealed details of the meeting with Robert ‘Woody’ Johnson (pictured) and a spokeswoman for the Queen said yesterday that they would not comment on a ‘private’ engagement
The current holder of the role is New York jets owner, Woody Johnson, who was nominated by President Trump to be the official ‘Ambassador to the Court of St. James’s’ in 2017.
Said to be worth around $4 billion, Mr Johnson – an heir to the Johnson & Johnson fortune – is a businessman and philanthropist who runs a private assets firm in New York as well as owning the city’s football team.
Significantly, he is a personal friend of President Trump, serving as vice chairman of his victory committee and hosting numerous fundraisers for his presidential campaign.
Last month, however, he broke diplomatic protocol, attacking Prime Minister Theresa May on Radio 4 by saying that Britain was in ‘need of leadership’ over Brexit.
Intriguingly he posted pictures of the British and American flags on his official Twitter feed on Thursday with the message: ‘Sec @LiamFox is right to outline the strengths of a future U.S.-UK trade deal. We want a free trade agreement with the UK that incentivizes [sic] Free, Fair and Reciprocal Trade. Result? Real growth in jobs and prosperity on both sides of the Atlantic! #SharedProsperity’.
The Mail has already been told that Donald Trump could return to the UK for a State visit as soon as this summer.
Although no firm dates have been set, diplomatic sources have said high level discussions are taking place about the US President coming back mid-way through the year.
Officials are already said to be working on a plan for a full ‘bells and whistles’ visit lasting up to a week following Mr Trump’s short working trip last summer.
The visit is also being lined up to coincide with the start of negotiations over a post-Brexit trade deal.
Discussions between the two sides could start within weeks of Britain leaving the EU, sources said.
A second visit in the space of 12 months would be a major boost to US/UK relations.
Details of the itinerary are still being discussed between Buckingham Palace, Number 10 and the White House.
But Mr Trump and his First Lady Melania would be expected to receive the full red carpet treatment, staying with the Queen and attending a state banquet.
The couple were first invited by the monarch for a full state visit within weeks of entering the White House, at the suggestion of Downing Street.
The offer was accepted, but Mr Trump pulled out amid fears over widespread protests.
A second plan for the President to open the new US Embassy in London last February was also abandoned. He eventually arrived in July for just a few days, travelling to Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire for a black-tie dinner with 100 guests and Ministers.
He also watched a joint military exercise between special forces from both countries and, with the Queen, inspected a guard of honour at Windsor Castle.
The visit was, however marked by large scale protests in London.
More than 100,000 people – including Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn – took to the streets to protest against his politics, but the visit largely passed off without any major incidents.
In 2011 the Queen dined with the then US ambassador to the UK at Buckingham Palace at a state banquet to honour President Obama, followed by a reciprocal dinner at Winfield House.
She also visited historic Winfield House, which stands in 12 acres of glorious gardens in the heart of London, in 1958 for a Thanksgiving dinner held by then American Vice-President Richard Nixon.