Bill Clinton 'politely declined' the Queen's invitation to have tea

Newly released official papers show former American president Bill Clinton turned down the Queen’s invitation to tea during his 1997 visit to the UK.

Bill Clinton turned down tea with the Queen
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Having tea with the Queen of England is a privilege most people would cherish for as long as they live to tell the story.

But it’s one that former US president Bill Clinton could live without. Newly released official papers show he turned down an invitation to have tea with the Queen when he visited the UK in 1997.

As though that was not scandalous enough, his reason for declining the royal offer was because he ‘wanted to be a tourist’ in London.

The records show that he would rather explore the shops on the streets of London and have Indian food than share a cup of tea with her majesty.

The official papers, which had until now been classified, reveal that Bill Clinton, Tony Blair and their wives Hillary and Cherie ended up dining at a French restaurant in London Bridge—complete with beer and fine wine.

No, thank you

Memos between Whitehall aides show Mr Clinton was invited to Buckingham Palace to 5pm tea when he was visiting the UK in 1997—four weeks after Tony Blair came to power.

But a letter written by Downing Street private secretary Philip Barton said:

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.

The restaurant bill racked up by the Blairs and Clintons is also among the series of files released by the National Archives in Kew, dating back to Mr Blair's first few months in government.

The couples spent a total of £298.86 at Le Pont de La Tour—and the bill featured £20 wild salmon, £19.50 grilled sole, £18 halibut, a £2.95 Budvar beer, and a bottle of Mas de Duamas 1995 wine priced at £34.75.

Watch Queen Elizabeth greet former US President Bill Clinton in an official visit.