Bill Clinton wanted to eat Indian food ‘like a tourist’, turned down tea invite from Queen on UK visit

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The Clinton family with Queen Elizabeth II in 2000, a later visit than the one where Bill Clinton sought out Indian food.
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  • Queen Elizabeth II invited former US President Bill Clinton for tea when he visited the UK in 1997.
  • But newly declassified documents show he turned it down, and wanted to go to an Indian restaurant.
  • He ended up going to a French restaurant with former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair instead.
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Bill Clinton rejected tea with Queen Elizabeth II while on a visit to the UK in 1997 because he wanted to go to an Indian restaurant, newly declassified documents say.

Clinton was visiting the UK for a day in 1997 for his first meeting with Tony Blair, who had just been elected, The Guardian reported, citing declassified documents.

Clinton had met the Queen previously.

Buckingham Palace wrote to the Blair's staff noting that "HM the Queen would be very pleased" to invite the Clintons to tea, as per the documents stored in the UK National Archives.

A briefing note in response noted that Clinton instead "said that he wants to be a tourist" and had "expressed an interest in trying Indian food," The Guardian reported.

Philip Barton, Blair's private secretary, later said that the Clintons "wish to decline politely" the royal offer. He also said they were also not interested in dinner at Chequers, the country residence of the prime minister.

Clinton didn't get an Indian in the end, The Guardian noted: The Clintons and Blairs went to a French restaurant.

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