A reporter for London's Daily Mirror says he had no trouble using a phony reference to get a job as a Buckingham Palace servant - and had he wanted to kill the Queen or President Bush, it would have been easy to do.
Reporter Ryan Parry, who got himself hired as a footman to test royal security, worked at the royal residence for two months, had a good view of the Bushes arriving Tuesday evening, and quit a few hours before he was scheduled to serve breakfast to U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell and U.S. National Security Adviser Condoleeza Rice.
A spokeswoman for the palace says a "full investigation" is being done into how Parry pulled off his masquerade.
Iraq meanwhile continues to occupy center stage for President Bush, who will meet Wednesday with British veterans of the war in Iraq and relatives of British victims of the Sept. 11 attacks.
The main event for Mr. Bush Wednesday is a speech to British lawmakers, in which he will attempt to erase what he believes are misconceptions about America's use of force. Aides to the president say he will subtly invoke Europe's history of appeasement of dictators, and the price Europeans paid in those days for their governments' inaction.
Mr. Bush is also expected to explicitly remind Europeans about the critical work the Allies did to set postwar Germany on the path to democracy, a process the Bush administration and the British are trying to accelerate today in Iraq.
Also on the Bush schedule for today: a banquet at the palace with Queen Elizabeth, British Prime Minister Tony Blair and numerous dignitaries.
If the conversation at the banquet falls into a lull, the guests could always listen to the goings on in the street.
Anti-Bush protesters are planning a few small rallies, including one outside the heavily guarded U.S. Embassy, in support of al Qaeda and Taliban terrorist suspects detained without trial in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Fewer than 100 anti-war protesters were standing outside Buckingham Palace on Tuesday night as the Bush entourage arrived in two helicopters. The president and wife Laura landed deep inside the walled-off estate in central London, far beyond earshot of a few dozen stalwarts shouting "Bush go home!" and other invectives.
"We haven't got started yet. You just wait 'til Thursday!" vowed Ann Butler, 63, who had taken the train into London from suburban Kent county in hopes of getting within shouting distance of Bush. "He thinks he's Wyatt Earp, but he's nothing but trouble for our country."
"I think he (Bush) is a disgrace," said another demonstrator. "I think he is a disgrace to the American people and these demonstrations are in solidarity with the American people. We are not anti-American - we are anti-Bush."
Security costs for the Bush visit are now estimated at approaching $9 million, with over a thousand police officers on patrol, some of them armed with guns - unusual in Britain - as well as batons and pepper spray.
The real test of anti-Bush sentiment comes Thursday. The Stop the War Coalition expects 100,000 to march past Parliament and the nearby Downing Street office of Prime Minister Tony Blair, Bush's major ally in the troubled occupation of Iraq.
London's left-wing mayor, Ken Livingstone, a critic of Blair's foreign policy, told the protesters they would command "the moral high ground" only if they keep their demonstrations violence-free.
So far, President Bush's arrival attracted more tourists and local gawkers than hard-line critics.
"I just got off work and decided to see what was happening. I was expecting a lot more people," said Jeffrey Martin, a native of Dallas, Texas, who is working as a researcher in the British Parliament.
Martin said he's no fan of Bush, but backs the ouster of Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq. "I just hope to God our boys get out of there as soon as possible," he said of the U.S. troops.
A few in the crowd outside the palace wanted President Bush to know they back him to the hilt.
"I support my president. He's facing a tough crowd over here," said Mike Rigas, 31, a Boston native working in a bank in London. He sported a U.S. flag and a British plastic red poppy - the symbol worn in Britain each November to commemorate British war dead - on his jacket lapel.
Rigas said most Britons he talked to were fairly supportive of the president.
Butler, one of the hard-line protesters, overheard Rigas' remark - and tore into it.
"Our anger is real. We've lost enough men in enough wars already. We shouldn't have to lose any more in a place that shouldn't concern us," said Butler, who was born during the German aerial blitz of London.
Earlier Tuesday, more than 500 environmentalists paraded to the U.S. Embassy to protest President Bush's 2001 rejection of the Kyoto treaty, which proposed tough new pollution-eradication standards that the president called unrealistic.
"We're the ones with the least time left to make a difference on the planet, however small," said Lillian Mirmak, 67, marching with a group of London retirees.
Like the protesters outside Buckingham Palace, the environmentalists chanted anti-Bush slogans and booed as the presidential helicopters passed overhead.
Madeline Kekwick, 73, rued the amount of money being spent in Iraq when people's needs remained great at home.
"We pensioners don't get 100 pounds (about $150) a week," she said, "and they're spending millions on the war."