David Cameron at White House: ‘Official visit,’ but ‘state dinner’


A place setting at last year’s state dinner for China. (Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images)

Peter Westmacott , Britain’s new ambassador to the U.S., told the Post’s Frances Stead Sellers that the White House is dispensing with the awkward-but-technically-correct “official dinner” nomenclature.

“Cameron’s can’t be a state visit because the monarch, not the prime minister, is head of state,” Sellers wrote. “So the White House, Westmacott explains, has come up with terminology fit for a man who’s not a king: ‘an official visit with a state dinner.’ ”

Got that? It’s not a first: The White House last summer welcomed German Chancellor Angela Merkel for what it called an “official visit” — the German president, not the chancellor, is the head of state, so no ”state visit” — but called the banquet a “state dinner.” Which probably trips off the tongue easier anyway.

In other news, golf superstar Rory McIlroy announced via Twitter that he’ll be attending the state dinner. Damian Lewis, star of “Homeland,” earlier leaked the news that he made the White House guest list.


White House state dinner for Britain: Sweet nothings, across the pond

State dinner menu, performers, more guests



Read earlier: ‘State dinner’ vs. ‘official dinner,’ 3/11/12


View Photo Gallery: Prime Minister David Cameron and his wife come to the United States for a two-day visit that includes, among other activities, attending the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.

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