Former American president Bill Clinton wanted to try out some Indian food and go shopping during his visit to England in 1997. Mr Clinton’s wish to be a “tourist” in the country even led him to decline an offer to have tea with Queen Elizabeth and dinner at the British Prime Minister’s official country house during his stay, recently-released documents have revealed. The papers, which were formerly classified, were made public by the National Archives recently, reports CNN. The Downing Street briefing note, which was acquired by the National Archives revealed that Clinton wanted time to explore the city. “He has mentioned that he wants to be a tourist”, the documents revealed, in addition to him having “expressed an interest in tasting Indian food.”
According to a Guardian report, the briefing note said that Downing Street was aware that the visit was crucial to “establishing a good working relationship” between the then United Kingdom prime minister, Tony Blair and the US president. Needless to say, all efforts were made to make the brief one-day detour of the Clintons from summits in Paris and The Hague, a success. The report said that Buckingham Palace had contacted No 10 to extend an invite to Mr Clinton. The note said that “HM the Queen would be very pleased” to invite the Clintons to tea at 5 pm on their short one-day trip.
However, the Clintons, while “very grateful for HM the Queen’s invitation”, had other plans. According to Mr Blair’s private secretary, Philip Barton, the Clintons wished “to decline politely” the invite, and were also not “attracted to our suggestion of a dinner at Chequers”. Explaining the reason behind the refusal, the note stated that Clinton said that “he wants to be a tourist”. It also said that he had “expressed an interest in trying Indian food.”
Receipts from the tour revealed that Blairs and Clintons finally dined at the French restaurant Le Pont de la Tour near Tower Bridge. Raking in a bill of £298.86, the group dined on some grilled sole, halibut, wild salmon and rabbit.
Bill Clinton was the 42nd President of the United States, serving from 1993 to 2001. He is married to Hillary Clinton, who is a former Secretary of State. She was a presidential candidate in 2008 as well as 2016.
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