Page last updated at 20:39 GMT, Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Queen and Duke arrive in Bermuda after diplomatic row


The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh arrive in Bermuda

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh have landed in Bermuda for a visit to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the island's settlement by the British.

The three-day trip is taking place in the wake of a diplomatic spat earlier this year between Bermuda and the UK.

In June, the colony's government angered Britain by failing to consult it on a decision to resettle four Guantanamo detainees on a US request.

The royal couple will also travel to Trinidad and Tobago later this week.

The deal to allow the four detainees - Chinese Muslim Uighurs - to be transferred to the territory was agreed by the US and the Bermudian government without consulting British officials.

As a British overseas territory, Bermuda's defence, security and foreign affairs are handled by the government in London, but decisions on immigration are delegated to the Bermudian authorities.

The US government concluded the men were not enemy combatants and therefore could be treated like other new immigrants.

1953 visit

Despite the row, the visit has gone ahead and will see the Queen and Prince Philip attend a major church service and a number of cultural events.

They were due to be met on arrival on Tuesday by Bermuda's governor Sir Richard Gozney and premier Ewart Brown.

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh on an official visit to Bermuda in 1953 (Pic: Bermuda Archives and Dept of Communication and Information)
Britain is responsible for Bermuda's defence, security and foreign affairs

An official welcome is then planned in King's Square in the former capital St George, where the Queen will inspect a guard of honour and meet Bermudian politicians.

The royal couple will then go on a brief walkabout to greet the public.

The visit comes 56 years to the day since the Queen first travelled to Bermuda - five months after her coronation.

The island was the first stop on her inaugural tour of the Commonwealth, and black-and-white archive pictures from that historic visit in 1953 have been released by Buckingham Palace.

Later this week, the Queen and the Duke will open the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Trinidad and Tobago.

They will be joined by Foreign Secretary David Miliband, who will represent Britain at the meeting.

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