The Queen and Royal Family host G7 leaders for joint dinner at Eden Project
The leaders at the G7 are all smiles, but splits over Northern Ireland are hard to ignore
The Queen and senior members of the royal family have gathered at the Eden Project where they are hosting a joint dinner for the leaders of the G7.
The monarch was joined by the Prince of Wales, the Duchess of Cornwall and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge as they welcomed the leaders of the group of seven advanced nations.
William and Kate are taking part in their first G7 events – another milestone in their progression as senior royals.
The Queen jokes "are you supposed to be looking as if you’re enjoying yourself?” While taking a photo
After the 40-minute reception, they moved to an area to take a socially distanced group photo, and after taking their seats and posing for a few moments, the Queen said: “Are you supposed to be looking as if you’re enjoying yourself?”
The leaders around the Queen laughed and Prime Minister Boris Johnson said emphatically “yes”.
Boris Johnson, who is hosting the summit in Cornwall, added: “We have been enjoying ourselves – in spite of appearances.”
German Chancellor Angela Merkel walked over to the Queen and thanked her for posing for the picture, saying: “Thank you for doing that for us.
The Prince of Wales used the reception to urge the G7 leaders to display the same sense of urgency in tackling climate change as they showed in tackling the coronavirus pandemic.
Charles said the battle against the pandemic provided a “crystal-clear example of the scale, and sheer speed, at which the global community can tackle crises when we combine political will with business ingenuity and public mobilisation”.Addressing the G7 leaders and a group of company bosses, the prince said: “We are doing it for the pandemic. So if you don’t mind me saying so, we must also do it for the planet.”
The dinner is being cooked by Chef Emily Scott from the Watergate Bay hotel.
They are being served food heavily influenced by Cornwall and the West of England including locally sourced roast turbot, with Cornish new potatoes, wild garlic pesto, and local vegetables.
They will also be treated to a round of Cornish cheese and for dessert they will enjoy English strawberry pavlova, with clotted cream fudge and a clotted cream ice cream cone.
The Eden Project, which promotes itself as "the largest indoor rainforest in the world," was chosen as the venue of tonight's dinner because of its efforts to promote biodiversity and raise awareness of the threats of climate change.
Earlier in the day, Mr Johnson said he wanted to use the summit to make sure we "learn lessons from pandemic" as he hosts the leaders from the group of advanced industrial nations in Cornwall.
The PM added: "We need to make sure that we don’t repeat some of the errors that we doubtless made in the course of the last 18 months or so.”
He said the G7 economies: the UK, US, Canada, Japan, France, Germany and Italy; had the potential to “bounce back very strongly” from the pandemic.
Mr Johnson has made the pandemic recovery a key focus of the meetings and said the group were "united in our vision for a cleaner, greener world" and were "building back better".
He added the group would focus on "building back more equal. Maybe in a more gender neutral, a more feminine, way."
At the summit, which runs until Sunday, the leaders of the UK, US, Canada, Japan, France, Germany and Italy are expected to set out a plan to expand vaccine manufacturing in order to achieve the goal of donating a billion jabs.
Boris Johnson begins the G7 round-table with a pledge to recover in a "more gender neutral, a more feminine way":
Mr Johnson also promised at least 100 million Covid-19 vaccines to countries in need amid growing concern about the inequality of global access to vaccines.
The G7 are expected to collectively agree to provide a billion doses of Covid-19 vaccine in an effort to end the pandemic in 2022.
The leaders were met by the prime minister and Ms Johnson as they arrived at the summit in Carbis Bay, Cornwall, and posed for a “family photograph” ahead of their discussions.
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With the focus on avoiding the spread of coronavirus, Mr and Mrs Johnson bumped elbows with the visiting leaders in place of the pre-pandemic handshakes.
The seaside location led Mrs Biden to joke "I feel like we are at a wedding". while the newlywed Mr Johnson said it was like "walking down the aisle".
President Biden urged the watching media to go swimming, quipping "everyone in the water".
Following the group photo, the French president, Emmanuel Macron, was seen in deep conversation with Mr Biden.
Mr Johnson had a diplomatic triumph on Thursday when he met Mr Biden for the US President's first overseas talks.
But German Chancellor Angela Merkel will travel to Washington next month, beating Mr Johnson to the White House.
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Over the coming days, Mr Johnson will have talks with Mrs Merkel and other key EU players, including Mr Macron and the European Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen, as efforts continue to resolve the dispute over Northern Ireland's post-Brexit arrangements.
Foreign secretary Dominic Raab has said the UK is being "pragmatic, flexible" on negotiations over the Northern Ireland protocol and said there needs to be "a bit of flexibility on the other side".
He said: "The EU have got to make this protocol work the way it was intended for all sides, for all communities in Northern Ireland, not just for EU integrity, but for economic integrity of the whole of the United Kingdom."
The politicians – including US President Joe Biden – will spend the day discussing issues including the pandemic before a lavish reception at the Eden Project attended by the Queen.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will also take part in their first G7 events, another milestone in their progression as senior royals.
The duchess and US First Lady Jill Biden visited an academy school for four to 11-year-olds to highlight the issue of the early years development of children.
The leaders are under pressure to do more to share the burden of protecting the world from the virus.
Mr Biden has already promised to donate half a billion Pfizer vaccines for 92 low and lower-middle income countries and the African Union.
Under the prime minister’s plan, the UK will provide five million doses by the end of September, with 25 million more by the end of 2021.
But he resisted calls from campaigners to take further action, including waiving patents on vaccines, insisting that the deal to supply Oxford/AstraZeneca jabs at cost price and the UK’s funding for the Covax initiative to provide doses around the world showed Britain was doing its share.
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The G7 as a whole was offering a “colossal sum of vaccines”, he said.
Around a fifth of the doses promised by Mr Johnson will be delivered through bilateral arrangements with countries in need while the rest will go through the Covax initiative which is distributing vaccines to poorer nations.
Downing Street said that by sharing five million doses in the coming weeks the UK will meet an immediate demand for vaccines for the countries worst affected by the pandemic without delaying completion of the domestic vaccination programme.
All adults in the UK will have been offered a first vaccine dose by the end of July under government plans.
Officials hope vaccinating people around the world will save lives, reduce the spread of the virus and restrict the emergence of new variants which could potentially be more dangerous than existing coronavirus strains.
The prime minister will ask the group to encourage pharmaceutical companies to adopt the Oxford-AstraZeneca model of providing vaccines at cost price for the duration of the pandemic.
Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson have already pledged to share 1.3 billion doses on a non-profit basis with developing countries.
Zoe Abrams, executive director at the British Red Cross, said the promise on vaccines was “heartening” but added: “While every commitment must be welcomed, more needs to be done, and fast.”
The UK has gone back on a commitment to spend 0.7% of national income on overseas aid, cutting the amount to 0.5% due to the economic carnage caused by the pandemic.
But the donation of vaccines will count as extra aid spending on top of the £10 billion already promised under the reduced target.
Mr Johnson said “people will understand that there is a pandemic which could not have been foreseen at the time we made that commitment to 0.7% throughout this parliament” and they are “incredibly proud of what we’re doing in spite of the difficulties that we’re facing”.