Queen Elizabeth will have to put on a brave face when she welcomes Saudi King Abdullah today, following yesterday's gaffe-filled beginning to his London visit. Abdullah's widely reported outburst over the 7/7 attacks left Downing Street open-mouthed, writes the Times of London, but then Britain's foreign secretary skipped a meeting with his Saudi counterpart.
David Miliband was in America finalizing the adoption of his new son, but the Saudis took the incident as a snub and Miliband's replacement by a junior minister as an insult. Abdullah's visit has also led to protests against the Saudi arms trade and human rights record, and several MPs will boycott today's Buckingham Palace banquet. Gordon Brown receives the king tomorrow.