From Assad to Xi, the Queen has met her fair share of controversial leaders

Queen has seen many different types in 67 years

By Lauren Said-Moorhouse, CNN
Richard Pohle - WPA Pool/Getty Images

President Donald Trump and Queen Elizabeth II inspect a Guard of Honour, formed of the Coldstream Guards at Windsor Castle on July 13, 2018, in Windsor, England.

(CNN) - Huge numbers of protesters are preparing to descend upon the streets of London when US President Donald Trump arrives for his first official state visit to the UK on June 3.

While this could make for a less than warm welcome for Trump, it will not be the first time Queen Elizabeth II has welcomed a controversial leader to the British capital.

As the country's longest-serving monarch, the Queen has entertained a variety of heads of state with grace and diplomacy during her 67-year reign.

Here's a look back at some of the world leaders whose trips have raised eyebrows.

 

Xi Jinping

 

Protesters gathered in central London to demonstrate against China's human rights record during President Xi Jinping's 2015 visit, which was aimed at strengthening economic ties between China and the UK.

 

George W. Bush

 

Anti-war demonstrators swarmed the British capital when US President George Bush made a state visit to the UK in 2003.

 

Vladimir Putin

 

President Vladimir Putin made the first state visit to the UK by a Russian leader in more than 125 years when he arrived in London in 2003. The trip was met with protests over Russia's role in the Chechnya conflict and concern over the Kremlin's support for Iran's nuclear program. It also came on the heels of tensions between the two countries over the US-led Iraq war, which Britain supported but the Kremlin opposed.

 

Bashar al-Assad

 

In 2002, President Bashar al-Assad became the first Syrian leader to make an official visit to the UK. While it wasn't a state visit, but he still met the Queen at Buckingham Palace. The four-day trip was partly sidetracked by a public disagreement between Assad and UK Prime Minister Tony Blair over a possible war in Iraq.

 

Saudi King Abdullah

 

The Saudi monarch's 2007 visit attracted controversy for a number of reasons, including the Kingdom's treatment of women and the gay community.

 

Robert Mugabe

 

Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe was greeted by the Queen and her husband, Prince Phillip, at Buckingham Palace during his state visit in 1994. He was given an honorary knighthood during the trip, though he would later be stripped of the award. Mugabe resigned as his country's president in 2017 after 37 years of autocratic rule.

 

Nicolae Ceausescu

 

Queen Elizabeth hosted the Romanian communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu in 1978. Ceausescu ruled Romania from 1965 using secret police to brutally repress his people. The Queen was apparently so displeased that Ceausescu had been invited to the UK that she hid behind a bush on the ground of Buckingham Palace to avoid speaking to him, Reuters reported.

 

Mobutu Sese Seko

 

Mobutu Sese Seko, President of Zaire -- now known as the Democratic Republic of Congo -- embarked on a UK state visit in 1973. He seized power in 1965 and led one of the most brutal African regimes for the next three decades. Western support for the dictator waned in the early 1990s after years of allegations of human rights abuses and rampant corruption, and he died in exile in 1997.

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