The Queen’s first day in Berlin – meeting Angela Merkel for a cup of tea

Today The Queen met Chancellor Angela Merkel on her first full day of her State Visit to Germany.

Her Majesty arrived in Berlin yesterday evening, at Tegel Airport, and was officially welcomed by President Joachim Gauck this morning, at Schloss Bellevue.

The Monarch was welcomed with a rendition of God Save The Queen, before President Gauck touched The Queen’s arm: touching of the Royal body goes against Royal Protocol.

There she inspected a Guard of Honour, who were also there to welcome the British Monarch to Germany.

The Queen and Duke then travelled down the River Spree to the Chancellery, where they met Angela Merkel, Bundeskanzlerin of Germany. Crowds lined the banks of the river, as well as queuing on the bridges that cross it, to catch a glimpse of the Royal Couple, who last visited in 2006.

24-hour news footage is being given to the State Visit, showing a gripped audience. The standard German word for Queen is Konigin, but the Germans simply call Her Majesty ‘Die Queen’, a sign of affection.

Ajax was the name of the boat that the Royal party and their hosts travelled in; Ajax was created in 1926 and so is the same age as Her Majesty.

Mrs Merkel welcomed The Queen and Prince Philip to her office, which is not far from the Reichstag. Her Majesty enjoyed a cup of tea with the Chancellor, before the media was removed – along with Prince Philip, for the two to have a private discussion.

During the visit, Mrs Merkel showed The Queen the Berlin skyline from her office, pointing out landmarks including where the Berlin Wall used to run through the centre of the city.

The next stop was at the Neue Wache memorial, Germany’s national monument to victims of war and dictatorship. Here, Her Majesty laid a large wreath of red, white and blue, with a card simply stating ‘In Memory’, with the Buckingham Palace crest. A few moments silence was held for reflection.

Technische Universitaet was The Queen’s next stop with The Duke of Edinburgh, where she met students and staff – and a robot. Here, The Queen’s Lecture was delivered by Neil Macgregor.

The robot waved on command to Her Majesty, and she appeared delighted with the greeting.

Also whilst at the university, Collegium Musicum Berlin performed Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance for some musical entertainment.

Earlier in the day, The Queen was presented with a portrait by Nicole Leidenfrost, based on a photo of The Queen with her father in 1935.

‘Is that supposed to be my father?’ The Queen asked. The President responded: ‘Don’t you recognise him?’, to which The Queen replied: ‘No!’

Her Majesty also remarked that the horse was ‘a funny colour’.

In return The Queen and Duke gave the Herr Gauck ‘Briefe Eines Verstorbenen’ (Letters of the Dead), a four volume set of the early 19th century letters of German nobleman Prince Hermann von Puckler-Muskau chronicling his journey around England, Wales, Ireland and France.

There was also a private gift to the president’s partner of 16 years Daniela Schadt – a pair of candlesticks.

Tonight, a State Banquet was held in The Queen’s honour, where she gave a speech in her glittering rubies.

‘In our lives, Mr President, we have seen the worst but also the best of our continent.

‘We have witnessed how quickly things can change for the better. But we know that we must work hard to maintain the benefits of the post-war world.

‘We know that division in Europe is dangerous and that we must guard against it in the West as well as in the East of our continent. That remains a common endeavor.’

‘Since 1945 the United Kingdom has determined to number among Germany’s very strongest friends in Europe. In the intervening decades, Britain and Germany have achieved so much by working together. I have every confidence that we will continue to do so in the years ahead.

‘The most magnificent element of Berlin’s skyline is the Reichstag dome, an enduring reminder of our cultural cooperation. Our work together includes every part of life, from politics to commerce, from industry to every aspect of the arts, in particular, music, museums and education.’

David Cameron and Philip Hammond were also in attendance at the banquet.

Feature photo: Sebaso

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