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March 31, 2009

Katty Kay: My letter to Obama on his visit with the Queen

Posted: 08:33 AM ET

By Katty Kay of the British Broadcasting Corporation

Dear Mr. President,

We are so delighted that you and your wife will be joining us at Buckingham Palace tomorrow. We will do our best to ensure the weather is fine for your visit, but unfortunately since our forebears abandoned absolute monarchy in 1689, the climate has been rather less under our control. One hears that the globe is warming but we see little evidence of it here in drizzly London.

I understand you have been taking lessons in royal protocol at your country house in Camp David. I do hope your minions did not confuse you with talk about farms and hams. I appreciate "ma'am" comes less naturally to the American tongue than "ma'am" but we make allowances for our guests from overseas. Can you believe that ever since that film with the delightful Helen Mirren playing myself became such a success I've had a string of visitors stumbling over their greeting and actually calling me "Farm"? Which is more forgivable than your successor, Mr. President, who winked at me during my state visit to America a couple of years ago, after stumbling himself into the suggestion that I was somehow born in 1776. Farm is mildly amusing, Mr. Obama; a wink, is not.

And, while we are on the subject of films, I think a boxed set of DVDs is unnecessary, don't you? Our press got frightfully upset when you gave some American "movies" to our prime minister recently and took it as a bit of a snub. One does have to tread carefully around such national sensitivities. It is not, between ourselves, something Mr. Bush was terribly adept at, we are rather hoping for improvement, and so we’re glad to hear you refer recently to the "special relationship" between our two nations.

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Filed under: President Obama


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Rose   March 31st, 2009 11:06 am ET

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair's blind support of Bush and his war in Iraq should not be forgotten so quickly. Yes, Mr. Blair there were no weapons of mass destruction. You turned a blind eye to all cries of protests in your own country and provided hefty support for years to Bush for this false cause. President Obama now has to clean up this murderous mess. I wish him all the best.


John, San Antonio   March 31st, 2009 12:17 pm ET

I guess I missed the Farm and Ham thing. I know common courtesy is not as common here in the U.S. as it once was but I would like you to know that Mam is a term I use daily in conversation with the female sex, regardless of age. I still hear it often by others of my countrymen and women and wish it would become more common in future as a sign of respect for ladies of all ages.


John, San Antonio   March 31st, 2009 12:17 pm ET

I guess I missed the Farm and Ham thing. I know common courtesy is not as common here in the U.S. as it once was but I would like you to know that Mam is a term I use daily in conversation with the female sex, regardless of age. I still hear it often by others of my countrymen and women and wish it would become more common in future as a sign of respect for ladies of all ages.


hugh ~ california   March 31st, 2009 4:20 pm ET

"God save the Queen!" and all that rubbish, but really I couldn't care less with all the problems going on in the world today. Our economy is in the pits, soldiers are dying overseas, people are starving and dying of disease; now a little girl has disappeared from my community in Tracy California. "Long live the Queen!" is all fine and dandy, but I'd rather focus on more important issues, not on celebrats, and royalty who are living high and fat in a world of excess.


Dodie from Irvine CA   March 31st, 2009 8:02 pm ET

@ John, San Antonio

“ma’am maybe showing courtesy or respect to another in England; however, ma'am in this country defines a woman as "OLD"! All you women out there know that in this country.... Old is viewed with inept, maladroit and incapable.

John, if you find women being contemptuous toward you, I would recommend you start refraining from saying ma'am


Dodie from Irvine CA   March 31st, 2009 9:07 pm ET

Finally a president that will NOT embarrass us as the last one did. Hopefully we can again, join the world in unity!


Johnny   March 31st, 2009 9:08 pm ET

I'm not too sure that we should even care whether or not the Queen approves of the Obama's. Ah....this was one of the very reasons we are here in America...........To escape the Throne..........To escape the Church..................We are Americans....We Bow to no one!


William Courtland   March 31st, 2009 9:44 pm ET

What else could President Obama give but movies: America doesn't seems to export much else but media..

So it is great to keep up relations with Powerless figureheads: but doesn't that suggest that President Obama is equally as powerless?

Is he even attempting to renegotiate or open treaty discussions?

If I didn't know any better I would think that the High levels of government are just stage acting until the budget is released to those who are controlling the script.

The state of the world: where Ma'am is the general replacement for lady: when the state of the lady no longer exists: it replaced with the general disfunction of true love: that of woman.


John, San Antonio   March 31st, 2009 10:47 pm ET

Dodie from Irvine, CA – Hey Dodie! Thanks for attempting to teach this 67 year old man the ways of the modern world but the way I was brought up, mam is a term of respect toward the female of our species. I have never been treated with contempt by any woman in all these years and believe me I have used the term freely. I won't call you mam since you find it insulting but don't be so sure that all women take it as a term meaning you are an old person. As I said earlier, I use it also with young girls who ask me a question. Perhaps you may try taking it in the spirit it is offered. I would think by the tone of the man's voice, you would be able to tell if it was respectful or a sign of disrespect. Anyway, nice to trade points of view with you.


Daisy McDowell   April 1st, 2009 9:38 pm ET

The Obamas certainly represent the United States in a very classy
manner. They are good looking, and they are highly intelligent. I feel that the United States will prosper undere his leadership, as president, if the Congress will cooperate with him.


Deborah Redmon   April 2nd, 2009 12:32 am ET

Larry the President and First Lady have exhibit the grace and humility that makes us proud to be Americans. They represent who we are and the English loves our First Lady, Michell, and so do I.


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