Former US president Bill Clinton turned down an opportunity to drink tea with Queen Elizabeth II during his first official visit to the UK, former classified documents revealed. He was on tour with Tony Blair as a leader in 1997.
According to the classified documents, he also turned down a dinner invite at the British Prime Minister's official country as Clinton wanted to "be a tourist", go shopping and explore Indian food, CNN reported.
The documents that were released by the UK's National Archives, revealed that Downing Street was "pulling out all the stops" to ensure Clinton's visit was a "public relations success". Clinton visited the UK between his trips to summits in The Hague and Paris. All this information is according to memos exchanged between Dominick Chilcott and John Holmes, the document mentioned.
Chilcott was the assistant private secretary to the foreign secretary, and Holmes was Blair's principal private secretary.
Even though Bill and Hillary were offered tea with Queen Elizabeth, they declined it as they wanted to do other activities, a note from Blair's private secretary, Phillip Barton, revealed
"The Americans said that the President and Mrs. Clinton were very grateful for HM The Queen's invitation to tea at the Palace, but would wish to decline politely," Blair's private secretary Phillip Barton said, the document revealed.
As per BBC, the document attempts to confirm the ever-changing schedule for the presidential couple's visit to the UK on May 29. At that time, Blair had started his 10-year tenure as UK PM. He was elected earlier that month.
When Clinton's team was asked about the president's plan, the team, according to the document, said that the President "wanted to be a tourist" and wanted to visit a garden and shops, and sample some Indian food with the Prime Minister.
"The Americans were not attracted to our suggestion of a dinner at Chequers," the note added.
However, according to receipts, they dined at Le Pont de la Tour, spending £265 ($360) on halibut, salmon, sole and rabbit.