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Boris Johnson bows to Queen as he becomes 14th PM of her reign

The pair met in the audience room of her private Buckingham Palace apartment.

The Queen welcomes Boris Johnson during an audience in Buckingham Palace (Victoria Jones/PA)
The Queen welcomes Boris Johnson during an audience in Buckingham Palace (Victoria Jones/PA)

The Queen’s relationship with the 14th Prime Minister of her reign began when Boris Johnson accepted her offer to form the next Government.

Their first meeting as head of state and PM could not have been staged in a more formal setting – the audience room of her private Buckingham Palace apartment.

But tucked beside the fireplace was a hi-tech fan, an illustration that – like the rest of the country – the Queen has been trying to ward off the stifling heat of the last few days.

A discontinued Dyson Pure Hot + Cool Link purifier heater had been switched on ahead of the audience at the palace which, as an historic building, does not have air conditioning.

Mr Johnson may have approved as the product is by entrepreneur Sir James Dyson, a Brexit supporter whose firm announced earlier this year it would be moving its headquarters from the UK to Singapore.

The fan is another insight into the Queen’s private life at the palace, like the Daily Mirror’s famous revelation that the monarch’s breakfast cereals are kept fresh in Tupperware.

On a nearby table were family photographs – an official engagement picture of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, an image of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, and a joint portrait of William and Harry in military uniforms.

Mr Johnson had showed respect to the Queen as the audience began, bowing his head as he shook her hand.

Bowing or curtsying is not compulsory, with people meeting a member of the Royal Family encouraged to do what they are comfortable with.

What passes between the Queen and her Prime Minister during their private meetings remains private, but Wednesday’s audience was the first of many between the pair.

What is certain is the monarch – as is her constitutional duty – offered Mr Johnson the opportunity to form a new Government and become premier of the UK, and he accepted.

Their meeting lasted 25 minutes, around the same time Mr Johnson’s predecessor Theresa May spent with the Queen as she tendered her resignation.

Buckingham Palace later confirmed the appointment of the new premier in a short statement: “The Queen received in audience the right honourable Boris Johnson MP this afternoon and requested him to form a new administration.

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A Dyson fan was spotted in the background in the Queen’s apartment, keeping the room cool amid the ongoing heatwave (Victoria Jones)

“Mr Johnson accepted Her Majesty’s offer and kissed hands upon his appointment as Prime Minister and First Lord of the Treasury.”

The kissing of hands is not a physical act, but is believed to be a handshake between the head of state and the PM.

In the film The Queen, Tony Blair, played by Michael Sheen, was however depicted as carrying out the gesture on his appointment.

The Queen will next meet the new Prime Minister on Thursday when a Privy Council meeting is held and Mr Johnson will take the oath of office as First Lord of the Treasury.

Also summoned to the council will be new Cabinet ministers so they can take their oaths of office and receive their seals of office from the Queen.

PA

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