Is Gordon Brown using Barack Obama’s Social Secretary?
Posted by danishova on May 28, 2009
Obama insulted the Brits by unceremoniously returning a statue of Winston Churchill, and by giving Gordon Brown DVDs as a gift when he visited the White House. Now the Queen is rightly insulted because she has been excluded from D-Day celebrations, and, ironically, the blame seems to lie with Gordon Brown (who, like Obama, is inept at everything else, so the fact that he is inept at protocol surprises me not in the least). The New York Times reports.
LONDON — Queen Elizabeth is not amused.
Indeed, she is decidedly displeased, angry even, that she was not invited to join President Obama and France’s president, Nicolas Sarkozy, next week at commemorations of the 65th anniversary of the D-Day landings in Normandy, according to reports published in Britain’s mass-circulation tabloid newspapers on Wednesday. Pointedly, Buckingham Palace did not deny the reports.
The queen, who is 83, is the only living head of state who served in uniform during World War II. As Elizabeth Windsor, service number 230873, she volunteered as a subaltern in the Women’s Auxiliary Territorial Service, training as a driver and a mechanic. Eventually, she drove military trucks in support roles in England.
While serving, she met the supreme Allied commander for the D-Day landings, Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, and developed a fondness for him, according to several biographies. This prompted Queen Elizabeth, who was crowned in June 1953, to say in later years that he was the American president with whom she felt most at ease.
But on June 6, when Mr. Obama and Mr. Sarkozy attend commemorations at the iconic locations associated with the American D-Day assault — Utah Beach, the town of Ste.-Mère-Église, where the first United States paratroopers landed, and the American war cemetery at Colleville-sur-Mer — the highest-ranking British representative will be Prime Minister Gordon Brown. His main role will be at ceremonies at the town of Arromanches, near the beaches where British troops landed.
How the queen came to be excluded has become entangled in a thicket of diplomatic missteps, or misunderstandings, depending on whether the account is given in London or Paris. The French have said officially that they regard the commemorations in the American sector of the landings as “primarily a Franco-American ceremony,” and that it was up to the British to decide who should represent Britain — in other words, that Mr. Brown was at fault for not seeking an invitation for the queen.
The French have also said the Brown government was slow to accept that the ceremonies merited more than a modest British involvement, since British policy had been to give full-scale government backing only to commemorations at decade-long intervals.
The last of those was the 60th anniversary in 2004, when the queen joined President George W. Bush in the Normandy observances. British veterans’ groups demanded more backing for this year’s ceremonies on the grounds that only a handful of soldiers who fought in Normandy were likely to be alive at the 70th anniversary in 2014.
In Britain, commentators have suggested that Mr. Sarkozy did not want to share the telegenic moment when he hosts Mr. Obama. This was all the more so, the British commentators have said, because the queen’s presence might risk turning the occasion into a celebration of the Anglo-American alliance, whose troops carried out the landings, losing about 37,000 men in the battle for Normandy…
We can’t have that now, can we!
Gabriel Malor at ACE’s place is blaming this directly on the White House. It would be interesting to know what direct role, if any, the White House played. They were only too happy to meet with the Queen, so I doubt they would intentionally slight her. A confederacy of dunces – now that I would believe.