Donald Trump's UK visit: US president launches Twitter attack on London mayor as he lands at Stansted
The arrival of United States president Donald Trump at Stansted Airport on Monday (June 3) for his first state visit to the UK was a curiously low-key affair.
While the former reality TV host is said to crave pomp and ceremony, his touchdown lacked the tight security and military might of his predecessor Barack Obama's landings.
Unlike his first presidential trip to the UK – a four-day working visit in July last year – when officers were drafted in from across the country, the police presence at Stansted was discreet.
Essex Police rather than CIA secret service agents screened the press pack of around 40 reporters, photographers and broadcasters who gathered to see the controversial commander-in-chief welcomed by Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, one of 13 candidates for the post of Conservative party leader and favoured by Bishop's Stortford's MP, Mark Prisk.
Sky News and LBC radio reported live from the runway as three Chinook and two Sikorsky VH-3D Sea King helicopters arrived ahead of the presidential plane, Air Force One, just before 9am.
Usually two or three tilt-rotor Osprey MV-22 aircraft are part of the advance party, but they were replaced for this visit after decimating the grass surround of Stansted's runway previously. The Beast, the president's customised Cadillac, was also absent from the apron.
Channel 4 News anchor Jon Snow, wearing a trademark rainbow striped tie and matching socks, was one of those who mustered away from Air Force One's arrival to interview Mr Hunt about Anglo-American relations as the country faces a hard Brexit and the terms of a transatlantic trade deal.
Mr Trump, who celebrates his 73rd birthday on June 14, ramped up the tension as he crossed the Atlantic by tweeting an attack on London's Labour mayor, Sadiq Khan, calling him a "stone cold loser".
As Air Force One taxied to a standstill in front of Ryanair's hangar, Mr Trump's team unpacked a second highly customised Boeing VC-25 aircraft which had arrived earlier with Mr Trump's adult offspring on board.
He has five children from three marriages: Don Junior, Ivanka and Eric with first wife Ivana, Tiffany Trump with Marla Maples and 13-year-old Barron with third wife and First Lady Melania Trump.
The 49-year-old, Slovenian-born former model wore her trademark dark sunglasses, a navy blazer draped over her shoulders, navy pencil skirt and Burberry silk blouse emblazoned with military medals as she and her husband eventually emerged from Air Force One and slowly descended the stairs to be greeted by an honour guard of 20 Royal Air Force servicemen.
A stiff breeze on the sunny airfield whipped the First Lady's hair and scarf collar around while a strong gust removed at least two of the airmen's caps, but the 45th president's cast-iron comb-over did not budge.
Wearing his customary baggy suit and a blue tie, he saluted the guard and spoke briefly to Mr Hunt and the US ambassador to the UK he appointed, Robert "Woody" Johnson, owner of the New York Jets American football team. The Trumps will be staying at Mr Johnson's official residence, Winfield House in Regent's Park, during their three-day visit.
When Mr Obama and his wife Michelle landed for official visits, they invited American servicemen and women serving in the UK at bases like Lakenheath to meet them at Stansted, but Mr Trump lost no time in gripping Melania's wrist and climbing aboard Marine One – the official call sign of any United States Marine Corps aircraft carrying the president – and heading for the capital with a decoy chopper and the Chinooks alongside.
He was set to enjoy a private lunch with the Queen at Buckingham Palace before laying a wreath at the Grave of the Unknown Warrior in Westminster Abbey. Afternoon tea with Prince Charles and wife Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, and a state banquet will complete his royal welcome on Monday.
On Tuesday, Mr Trump is to hold talks with Prime Minister Theresa May – one of her last jobs before she quits as Tory leader on Friday (June 7) and becomes the country's caretaker at Number 10 until her replacement is elected. In the evening, the president will host a dinner at the US ambassador's residence.
On Wednesday he is set to join members of the Royal Family at a ceremony in Portsmouth to commemorate the 75th anniversary of D-Day.
More by this authorSinead Corr