The Obamas UK Tour Continues: Westminster Abbey and 10 Downing Street

May 24, 2011 12:07pm

ABC News' Sunlen Miller reports: The Obamas continued their London tour today with a visit to the Picture Gallery at Buckingham Palace with the Queen, a visit to Westminster Abbey and a meeting with Prime Minister David Cameron and his wife at 10 Downing Street.

“It’s a great honor for us to be here,” Obama said as he and the first lady walked into Westminster Abbey.

The Dean of Westminster, the Very Reverend Dr. John Hall of the Abbey, escorted them to the Grave of the Unknown Warrior, remains that were brought here from a battlefield cemetery in Northern France in 1920, and said a prayer.

"We honor the unknown warrior,” the dean said. “Here we pray for all those who have given their lives in the cause of peace. Here we pray for all those who strive on our behalf for justice."

Obama then laid a circular wreath of red and white carnations and blue hydrangeas at the foot of the grave at the center of the Abbey floor.

The Obamas then bowed their heads in prayer.

"Let us pray for the peoples of the United States of America and of the United Kingdom," the dean continued. “Eternal God, font and source of all authority and wisdom, hear our prayers for Elizabeth our queen and the President of the United States of America.”

Earlier, the Obamas, the Queen, Prince Phillip, Prince Charles and Camilla toured the Buckingham Palace Picture Gallery, a small but ornate room.

On display are items from the American/English collection including:

- A letter from Lincoln to Queen Victoria in 1862 expressing condolences on the death of her husband Prince Albert in 1861.

- A Copy of Uncle Tom's Cabin- – in 1852, Queen Victoria's mother gave her a copy of one of London's first editions. Inside front cover, the Queen noted that she "began this most striking, interesting & beautiful book" on Feb 2 1853 and finished it in March.

- Items from the 1939 world's fair in New York that the king and queen attended, like charm bracelets, photos, and a clock.

- A Letter: In 1939, king George and Queen Elizabeth traveled to Springwood, the Roosevelt family home in Hyde Park, Duchess County for some rest. In a letter to Princess Elizabeth, on June 11 the queen describes her picnic lunch enjoyed with the Roosevelts which became famous for its typical American fare including smoked turkey, potato salad and hot dogs.

- Abolition of slavery-related items

The Queen escorted the president herself, pointing out pieces of art on display. The president nodded politely, as did his wife who was shown around by Prince Phillip. At one point during the tour, the Queen seemed a little less than entertained, looking down and inspecting her nails.

At the end of the tour though, the Queen and the president did share a laugh over one of the letters on display – from the Queen to her daughter in 1939, in which there were hot dogs at the Queen’s 1939 meal with the Roosevelts.

The Obamas also met Prime Minister Cameron and his wife outside of 10 Downing Street this afternoon. The two couples posed for obligatory photos, waving for press in front of the famous black door.

Mr. Obama and Prime Minister Cameron will formally sit down for discussions tomorrow and hold a joint press conference afterward.

– Sunlen Miller

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