This evening President Bush had a state dinner with Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain and her husband Prince Philip. I do hope that Bush knew which fork to use and where to place the napkin. Interestingly, the list of 134 guests for dinner tonight did not include Bush’s parents, the 41st US president and his wife. CNN said earlier that

The menu and entertainment were designed as a showcase of America’s best: spring pea soup with U.S. caviar, dover sole almondine, spring lamb with chanterelle sauce and local vegetables and an arugula, mustard greens and romaine salad, said executive chef Cristeta Comerford.

According to BBC News,

The monarch and her husband are guests of honour at the dinner hosted by US President George W Bush and wife Laura. A total of 134 guests were due to attend the state dinner – the first in Mr Bush’s presidency to have a white tie dress code.  Earlier, the Queen was honoured with a 21-gun salute in Washington DC on the final leg of her six-day US visit.

The best lines from the BBC story were these:

Mr Bush, meanwhile, joked with the Queen after making a mistake in his speech.

He said: “You helped our nation celebrate its bicentennial in 17… 1976” , and then joked the Queen had given him “a
look that only a mother could give a child”.

The queen donated money to an environmental charity to offset the her airplane trip, and here is a graphic about that.

Map of Queen's US visit

Total air miles – 13,317 km or 8,275 miles
Amount of CO2 emitted based on scheduled flights – 1. 5 tonnes
Estimated offset cost per person – £13.20 to £14.18 ($26.22-$28.17) depending on type of offset package
Source: The Carbon Neutral Company carbon calculator
CNN reports that

The president and the queen took markedly different approaches to their formal remarks. Bush focused on the partnership between the United States and Britain in Iraq and against terrorism. In just four minutes, he mentioned “freedom” and “liberty” seven times. “Your majesty, I appreciate your leadership during these times of danger and decision,” he said. By contrast, the queen said her fifth journey to the United States was an occasion to “step back from our current preoccupations.”

A few questions:

1) Why does Great Britain still have a queen? And why do they make such a big fuss about it?

2) How many other countries or people donate to environmental charities when they use airplane fuel?