Jack Hill / POOL / AFP via Getty Images
For the first time since the pandemic ended in-person events, leaders from Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States have gathered in a British coastal city for three days of talks to try the topic address some of the world’s most pressing problems.
The focus of the talks is on containing the coronavirus pandemic. But the summit also offers a glimpse into the dynamics between world leaders beyond their declarations and press conferences.
Here’s a look at some of the moments you might have missed on Day 1:
A royal gathering
For the first time, Queen Elizabeth II and her family take part in the G7, part of a diplomatic charm offensive. Along with Prince Charles, the Duchess of Cornwall and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, the Queen attended a reception on Friday evening with G-7 leaders and their spouses Eden project, which calls itself the largest indoor rainforest in the world.
“Should you look like you’re enjoying this?” the Queen asked British Prime Minister Boris Johnson as they sat down for a group photo, which made the other leaders laugh.
Prince Charles spoke to the leaders and applauded them for their urgent work. “Ladies and gentlemen, we are doing it for the pandemic. So if you don’t mind me saying this, we have to do it for the planet too, ”he said.
Most important meal of the day
“Multilateralism is back @ G7,” tweeted Charles Michel, President of the European Council, alongside a photo of heads of state and government gathered for breakfast before the day’s talks. Also the French President Emmanuel Macron shared a photo from the congregation via Twitter.
“The EU wants to ensure that the world is vaccinated as soon as possible. Only together can we achieve this, by upholding our values,” wrote Michel, adding the hashtag “BuildBackBetter”, a phrase that G7- Host Johnson has taken over and campaigned President Biden to outline his “rescue, recovery and rebuilding” agenda after the pandemic.
On Thursday, Biden announced the US will donate 500 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine to nearly 100 countries that are struggling to afford them. The heads of state and government of the G-7 are expected to a Commitment to Share 1 Billion of Your COVID-19 Vaccine Resources with lower-income countries.
Handshakes out, elbow greetings in
Phil Noble / Pool / AFP via Getty Images
At the start of Friday’s summit, world leaders and their spouses took turns walking up a pier to snap a picture with Johnson and his wife, Carrie.
Exaggerated elbow kicks as a safety measure replaced the traditional handshakes between the guides.
“Everyone in the water,” joked Biden to the pool of photographers.
Ludovic Marin / AFP via Getty Images
As usual, the leaders gathered for an official photo before the talks began.
It didn’t take long for the moment to become a meme.
Harry and Meghan’s newborn baby is mentioned
Daniel Leal-Olivas / AFP via Getty Images
On Friday, Duchess of Cambridge Catherine and First Lady Jill Biden toured a Connor Downs Academy classroom and held a round table on early childhood education.
That made for an uncomfortable moment.
Reporters traveling with Biden asked former Kate Middleton if she had any wishes for her new niece Lilibet Diana, the newborn daughter of Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, who have withdrawn from British royalty in a very public way.
The baby was named in honor of Harry’s late mother, Princess Diana of Wales, and Queen Elizabeth II. The name sparked some controversy over whether the queen had given her blessing for using her childhood nickname.
“I wish her all the best. I can’t wait to get to know her,” said the Duchess of Cambridge. “We haven’t met her yet. I hope it will be soon.”
She was asked if she did FaceTime with her new niece. “No, I haven’t,” she said.
Johnson sees a “more feminine” world after COVID-19
Cameras were briefly admitted as the leaders began their formal meeting. Johnson made some introductory remarks, noting how refreshing it was to work with people in person.
He nodded on the subject of climate change and said, “We are united in our vision for a cleaner, greener world, a solution to the problems of climate change.”
As Frank Langfitt from NPR reported, concrete measures that were announced during the talks on climate change could provide impetus for the UN climate conference in autumn. Johnson is also hosting this meeting in Glasgow, Scotland.
“Build better together again … build greener and fairer and build again with equal rights, more gender-neutral, maybe more feminine”
– BBC Politics (@BBCPolitics) June 11, 2021
But he focused on COVID-19. “We need to make sure we learn the lessons from the pandemic,” he said.
“We are building better together again and building greener and fairer again, and building again with more equal rights, more gender-neutral and perhaps more feminine. How about that? ”Said Johnson.
Body language contrast between Biden and Trump
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Part of Biden’s mission is to mend links damaged after four years of former President Donald Trump’s more discrete approach – an approach that forever changed the set international summits, as shown in this iconic photo of a G- 7 detained in Canada:
There is less drama at this meeting than there was in the Trump years. Take, for example, the memorable pictures of Trump’s White Kuckling leaders with handshakes and push aside Montenegro’s Prime Minister in an apparent attempt to come forward during a photo op.
Some leaders were happy to turn the page.
Compare that to the “handshake wars” between French President Emmanueal Macron and Trump during the bilateral negotiations.