Moments You Missed As The G-7 Leaders Meet For The 1st Time Since COVID-19

2 hours ago
Originally published on June 11, 2021 9:20 am

Updated June 11, 2021 at 10:40 AM ET

For the first time since the pandemic halted face-to-face events, leaders from Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States have gathered for three days of talks in a British seaside town to try to address some of the world's most pressing issues.

Stopping the coronavirus pandemic will be front and center in the talks. But summits such as the Group of Seven also provide a window into the dynamics between the world leaders beyond their statements and press conferences.

Take, for instance, the unforgettable images of former President Donald Trump white-knuckling leaders with handshakes and pushing aside Montenegro's prime minister in an apparent attempt to get to the front of a photo-op.

Here's a look at some of the moments you may have missed on Day 1:

Most important meal of the day

"Multilateralism is back @G7," tweeted Charles Michel, president of the European Council, alongside a photo of leaders gathered together for what appeared to be breakfast ahead of the day's talks. French President Emmanuel Macron also shared a photo of the gathering via Twitter.

"The EU wants to make sure the world is vaccinated as quickly as possible. Only together can we do this by upholding our values," Michel wrote and included the hashtag "BuildBackBetter," a phrase that G-7 host U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has adopted and that President Biden campaigned with to describe his agenda to "rescue, recover and rebuild" after the pandemic.

On Thursday, Biden announced the U.S. will donate 500 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine to nearly 100 countries struggling to afford them. G-7 leaders are expected to announce on Day 1 of the talks a commitment to share 1 billion of their COVID-19 vaccine resources with lower income countries.

Handshakes out, elbow greetings in

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau greets Johnson, the G-7 host, and his wife, Carrie, as he arrives for Friday's summit.
Phil Noble / Pool/AFP via Getty Images

At the start of the summit Friday, the world leaders and their spouses walked up a pier one at a time to get a photo with Johnson and his wife, Carrie.

Exaggerated elbow bumps as a safety measure replaced the traditional handshakes between leaders.

"Everybody in the water," Biden quipped to the pool of photographers.

Family photo

The G-7 leaders gather for the traditional group photo ahead of Friday's talks.
Ludovic Marin / AFP via Getty Images

As is customary, the leaders gathered for an official photo before the start of the talks.

Harry and Meghan's newborn gets a mention

First lady Jill Biden and Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, visit Connor Downs Academy in Hayle, England, on the sidelines of the G-7 summit Friday.
Daniel Leal-Olivas / AFP via Getty Images

On Friday, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, and first lady Jill Biden toured a classroom at Connor Downs Academy and held a roundtable on early childhood education.

That provided an awkward moment.

Reporters traveling with Biden asked the 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 stepped back from the British royal family 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, with questions of whether the queen had given her blessing for the use of her childhood nickname.

"I wish her all the very best. I can't wait to meet her," the Duchess of Cambridge said. "We haven't met her yet. I hope that will be soon."

She was asked whether she had done FaceTime with her new niece. "No, I haven't," she said.

Johnson sees a more "feminine" world after COVID-19

Cameras were allowed in briefly as the leaders began their formal meeting. Johnson gave some opening remarks, noting how refreshing it is to work with people in person.

He nodded to the topic of climate change, saying, "We are united in our vision for a cleaner, greener world, a solution to the problems of climate change."

As NPR's Frank Langfitt reported, any concrete action announced during the talks on climate change could provide momentum for the U.N. Climate Change Conference this fall. Johnson is hosting that meeting in Glasgow, Scotland, too.

But he focused on COVID-19. "We need to make sure that we learn the lessons from the pandemic," he said.

"We are building back better together, and building back greener, and building back fairer, and building back more equal, and in a more gender-neutral and perhaps a more feminine way. How about that?" Johnson said.

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