Obamas and royal newlyweds kick off UK visit

BARACK Obama today basked in the lavish royal pageantry of a state visit to Britain, given an extra dash of glamour by a brief encounter with the newlywed Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

The Queen was officiating at the ceremonial portion of Obama’s two-day visit, with an official welcoming event at Buckingham Palace.

Earlier, Obama and his wife Michelle met Prince William and Catherine, less than a month after watching their fairytale wedding on television.

Earlier, Obama Obama said he was “heartbroken” over the devastation wrought by tornadoes in the US midwest, which killed more than 100 people, and promised to visit the disaster zone on Sunday.

The US President vowed the US government would stand by victims of the disaster until everyone’s home had been rebuilt.

He said he was “heartbroken” over the deadly aftermath of the storms, particularly by the plight of Joplin, Missouri, where 116 people perished in a tornado over a kilometre wide with winds of up to 320km/h.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the families that are suffering at the moment,” Obama told reporters at Winfield House, the residence of the US ambassador in London.

“All we can do is let them know that all of America cares deeply about them and we are going to do absolutely everything we can to make sure they can recover.”

Obama said he would travel to Missouri on Sunday, a day after he returns from a four-nation tour of Europe, to talk to victims of the disaster and to examine the US government’s rescue and recovery effort.

The president also urged all Americans to take heed of storm warnings in what has been a particularly powerful and deadly storm season.

The serious political business of the visit happens tomorrow, and Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron limbered up for their talks with a vow to support those risking their lives for reform in the Arab world.

“We will not stand by as their aspirations get crushed in a hail of bombs, bullets and mortar fire. We are reluctant to use force, but when our interests and values come together, we know we have a responsibility to act,” they wrote in an article in The Times.

“We will stand with those who want to bring light into dark, support those who seek freedom in place of repression, aid those laying the building blocks of democracy.”

Obama will also be given the rare honour of addressing both houses of UK parliament.

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