May reminds Trump of transatlantic ties with Churchill-era gift


  • World
  • Tuesday, 04 Jun 2019

LONDON (Reuters) - Prime Minister Theresa May will present U.S. President Donald Trump with a reminder of close Anglo-American ties on Tuesday, marking his state visit to Britain with a copy of a 1941 charter that helped define the post-World War Two global order.

After a day of royal pageantry on Monday, the trip turns to the political relationship between Britain and its closest ally as May hosts Trump at her Downing Street residence seeking to affirm the so-called "special relationship" in light of Brexit.

May will mark the occasion with a gift: A framed reproduction of the Atlantic Charter which hung on wartime prime minister Winston Churchill's wall and set out principles of free trade and collective security that formed the basis of the post-war peace.

The draft document setting out policies on which both countries would "base their hopes for a better future of the world" is scrawled with Churchill's annotations, barely legible in faded red pen. It was agreed by Churchill and U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

May's choice of gift underlines Britain's desire to secure a new relationship with the United States for the post-Brexit era, as London quits the European Union and looks to sustain tight security ties with Washington and lock down a new trade deal.

During Trump's presidency, the alliance with Britain - famously nurtured by Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s - is increasingly fraying.

Trump's visit is expected to be rich in historical significance, including a tour of the Churchill War Rooms - a labyrinthine bunker-turned-museum underneath London's political hub, and events to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the D-Day invasion of Normandy which turned the course of the war.

Trump, May and their spouses will also view a ceremonial copy of the American Declaration of Independence. For lunch, they will have crab followed by beef fillet, and a meringue-based pudding known as 'Eton mess'.

While Trump and May sit down to political talks inside May's Downing Street office, Philip May and Melania Trump will attend a garden party and take a guided tour of the building.

Melania will be receive a tea set created by designer Emma Bridgewater from the prime minister and her husband.

(Reporting by William James; editing by Guy Faulconbridge)

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