UK & World News

  • 28 February 2014, 12:57

Queen Lunches At Chequers With Cameron

The Queen is having lunch with the Prime Minister at Chequers today - for the first time since joining Edward Heath there in the 1970s.

Downing Street said David Cameron invited the monarch to the Buckinghamshire retreat as it was "a considerable period of time" since her last visit.

Mr Cameron said he "thought it would be a good opportunity to invite the Queen to have lunch with him, to host her for a change".

They will eat Scottish smoked salmon, lamb, potatoes and vegetables - before ending with a dessert of bread and butter pudding and ice cream.

It is more than 40 years since the Queen joined then-prime minister Edward Heath for lunch at the grace-and-favour mansion with visiting US president Richard Nixon.

That was the first such royal occasion at the house in the Chilterns since it was gifted to the nation for use by prime ministers in 1921 and remains a very rare event.

A 1996 visit as the guest of John Major is believed by the Palace to be the only other such occasion.

Royals have not always enjoyed such a welcome at Chequers - Lady Mary Grey was imprisoned there in a cell for two years in the 16th century.

It also houses a large collection of Oliver Cromwell memorabilia - his grandson having married the then owner of the house in 1715.

A list of visitors entertained by the Prime Minister was released by the Government in January and included senior politicians from both coalition parties, Afghan president Hamid Karzai and Arts Council England chief Sir Peter Bazalgette, the former boss of Big Brother producers Endemol.

But it included only those guests who had received official hospitality and Labour called on the PM to disclose those paid for out of his own pocket or by the Tory party.

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