Tea time may be a British tradition, but Prince Charles's latest tea appointment caused quite a stir. Today, the heir to the throne hosted U.S. president Donald Trump for afternoon tea at Clarence House, as a part of his and Melania Trump's state visit to the U.K.
Though an audience with the Queen is guaranteed by a state visit, a meeting with Prince Charles isn't necessarily part of the docket for foreign dignitaries, which made the news of the duo's meeting particularly attention-catching. During the president's visit to the UK in 2018, for example, the two did not meet.
It's not clear whether the invitation to tea was Charles's idea, at the behest of Downing Street (which partly coordinates state visits, in conjunction with the Palace), or at the request of the White House, but many speculated that the meeting could have been politically tense.
One potentially volatile topic for the men might have been the environment. Prince Charles has long been a vocal environmentalist, calling out for world leaders to step up to stop "potentially catastrophic global warming" in a speech he gave during his royal tour of the Caribbean in March.
Meanwhile, President Trump has spoken openly about his skepticism over climate change, and has generally scaled back the environmental efforts put in place by the previous administration, including pulling out of the Paris climate accords.
Even if Trump and Prince Charles skirted around the climate issue in their meeting, it seems that it'll be unavoidable during Trump's talk with Theresa May. On Monday, a spokesperson for the U.K. government said that May would address the environment in her one-on-one with the president. "The prime minister has raised climate change with the president before and will do so again during his visit," the spokesperson told the BBC. "As the prime minister has said previously, we were disappointed by the US decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement in 2017 and continue to hope they will return."
The government announcement comes after 250 climate researchers sent a letter to the prime minister, urging her to broach the topic with Trump. "The President’s refusal to tackle climate change, and particularly his initiation of the withdrawal of the United States from the Paris Agreement, is increasing risks for lives and livelihoods in the United States, the United Kingdom and around the world," they wrote.
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