Queen leads royal charm offensive at the G7

Queen Elizabeth II is seen during a visit to HMS Queen Elizabeth in Portsmouth, England, on May 22.
Queen Elizabeth II is seen during a visit to HMS Queen Elizabeth in Portsmouth, England, on May 22. Steve Parsons/WPA Pool/Getty Images

On the first day of the G7 summit in Cornwall, Boris Johnson is, even by his own dramatic standards, putting on a show.

Johnson’s G7 leaders will today have the full force of Britain’s greatest diplomatic asset hurled at them, as they are invited to join none other than Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II for dinner, along with other senior members of the family.

The dinner will take place at the world-famous Eden Project, a striking collection of biomes, one of which is home to the largest indoor rainforest on earth.

While the dinner will be the main royal event of the day, leaders will meet with other members of the world’s most famous family to discuss issues on which some members of the family have been long-term campaigners. Prince Charles, for example, will meet with leaders and representatives from the world of business to discuss the coordinated effort to tackle climate change, one of the British government’s top priorities as it gears up to host COP26 later this year.

Meanwhile, First Lady Jill Biden will meet with future Queen Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, to talk about children’s education, another major international focus of Johnson’s government. 

Rolling out the royals in this way is nothing new and plenty of British prime ministers have used the pomp of state visits to curry favor with world leaders. However, they are doing so at a time of particular tumult for the monarchy. 

It was only a few weeks ago that the family was mourning its patriarch, after Prince Philip died at the age of 99. And the family is in the middle of a very public spat with Prince Harry and his wife Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, following their explosive interview with Oprah Winfrey in which they accused an unnamed senior royal making racist statements. 

Yesterday, things were not looking so good for Johnson, as he appeared on track for a collision course with the US President over Brexit. However, the US diplomatic pushback over reports that Biden had issued a demarche over Northern Ireland meant Johnson could sleep easy. Now, he can sit back and enjoy dazzling his fellow leaders as they rub shoulders with Britain’s biggest rockstars.

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