Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Royal Rewind: The Queen with Twelve U.S. Presidents

Last week The Queen marked sixty-two years since her ascension to the throne. In February 1952, a young Princess Elizabeth was touring Kenya with her husband Prince Philip when she received the tragic news her father George VI had passed away. At the tender age of 25 she took the title Queen Elizabeth II. During Her Majesty's reign there have been eleven U.S. presidents, and she has met with every one of them apart from Lyndon Johnson. In addition Her Majesty met with Harry Truman before she became Queen and Herbert Hoover when he was a former president bringing the total number to twelve.

Princess Elizabeth first visited Washington D.C. in 1951 with Prince Philip and stayed with President Harry Truman and his family at Blair House - at the time extensive renovations were underway at the White House. Naturally the Princess charmed everyone she met, and President Truman remarked, "Margaret (Truman) tells me that whenever anyone becomes acquainted with you they immediately fall in love".

White House History

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip stayed with President Dwight Eisenhower and First Lady Mamie Eisenhower for four days in 1957. It marked only the second occasion a Monarch had slept in the White House. The Queen and her husband stayed in the suites her father and mother, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth (The Queen Mother) did.

White House History

The favour was returned two years later when, in August 1959, The Queen entertained President Eisenhower and his wife Mamie at Balmoral.

The British Monarchy Flickr

It is very much believed they enjoyed an excellent rapport and shared a love of scones - yes scones. The President loved The Queen's drop scones so much, five months after his visit she belatedly sent him her personal recipe. Below we see a portion of the letter.

Buckingham Palace

Queen Elizabeth met with former president Herbert Hoover, more than twenty years after he left the White House, at a luncheon at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York.

The British Monarchy

In 1961, The Queen and Prince Philip welcomed President John F. Kennedy and First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy to Buckingham Palace. In honour of the visit a splendid State banquet was held. Whilst the photos showcase a very happy group, according to rumours there was a less than warm atmosphere in the room that night. Apparently Her Majesty was reluctant to invite Mrs. Kennedy's sister as she was a divorcée but eventually relented. The Queen then cut Princess Margaret and others from the guest list as they had been requested to attend by the First Lady.

White House History

Mrs. Kennedy later told Gore Vidal:

"The queen had her revenge," she confides to Gore Vidal. "No Margaret, no Marina, no one except every Commonwealth minister of agriculture they could find." Jackie also tells Vidal that she found the queen "pretty heavy going." (When Vidal repeats this to Princess Margaret some years later, the princess loyally explains, "But that’s what she’s there for."
Over dinner, Jackie continues to feel awkward, even persecuted. "I think the queen resented me. Philip was nice, but nervous. One felt absolutely no relationship between them."

Nine months later, Jackie Kennedy paid a solo visit to The Queen at Buckingham Palace. Upon leaving she said: "I don't feel I should say anything about it except how thankful I am and how charming she was."



On November 22 1963, President Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas. The Queen was unable to attend his funeral as she was pregnant with Prince Edward. As we mentioned earlier in the post, Her Majesty never met Lyndon Johnson during his presidency.

White House History

The Queen and Prime Minister Edward Heath with President Richard Nixon and First Lady Pat Nixon during their visit to the United Kingdom in 1970. Only months earlier Prince Charles and Princess Anne had paid a visit to the White House.

The British Monarchy Flickr

President Gerald Ford and First Lady Betty Ford honoured The Queen and Prince Philip's visit in 1976 with an exquisite State Dinner. I've always loved the photo of The Queen and President Ford dancing whilst chatting and exchanging smiles. HM looked fabulous in a yellow gown and sparkling jewels. The royals made a special trip to commemorate the bicentennial.

Ford Library Museum

Below we see the dinner menu for the white-tie affair.

Ford Library Museum

President Jimmy Carter, known for his plain manner and eschewing finery, dined on gold plates with The Queen and Prince Philip on May 10 1977 following a NATO Ministerial Meeting at Lancaster House, London.

The British Monarchy Flickr

The Queen invited President Ronald Reagan and First Lady Nancy Reagan to a formal dinner in Windsor Castle in 1982. The visit was part of a ten-day European trip and they were met with pageantry and fanfare.

White House History

Both keen riders, President Reagan and The Queen enjoyed rides in Windsor's Home Park during the visit.

The British Monarchy Flickr

The Queen and Prince Philip invited President Bush and his wife to Buckingham Palace in 1989.

The British Monarchy Flickr

In 1991 The Queen and Prince Philip were welcomed by President George H.W. Bush and First Lady Barbara Bush with an elaborate state arrival ceremony and dinner. They planted a Linden tree together to replace the one that was felled by a storm. The original was planted in 1937 in order to commemorate the ascension of King George VI.

White House History

President Bill Clinton and First Lady Hilary Clinton toured Buckingham Palace with the royals as part of a five-day European tour.The trip was meant to underscore Anglo-American ties, and President Clinton announced a U.S. warship would be named in honour of Winston Churchill.

White House History

The Queen with President Clinton in 2000 at Buckingham Palace.

The British Monarchy

Her Majesty shows President George W. Bush a photo of Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show that was performed for Queen Victoria at Windsor during a state visit in 2003.

The British Monarchy Flickr

Finally we look at The Queen's meeting with President Obama. The Queen first welcomed President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle to Buckingham Palace in 2009.

The British Monarchy Flickr

Michelle Obama always comes across an incredibly warm woman (one of the reasons we find her so endearing) and there was no exception when she met The Queen. Finding herself next to Mrs Obama, The Queen remarked on their height difference. As she did so, her hand edged the small of Mrs. Obama's back. Mrs Obama responded by gently putting her hand on The Queen's shoulder. A rare moment among the royals and a very memorable one.

BBC

The Obama's made another state visit to the United Kingdom in 2011. Below we see the foursome in the State Rooms at Buckingham Palace before the banquet.

The British Monarchy Flickr

President Obama viewed American items from The Royal Collection during the trip.

The British Monarchy Flickr

Her Majesty has witnessed so much in terms of history and historical figures. No doubt, we'll see her with the next president too!

11 comments:

  1. what a amazing woman. I have been lucky to have met her twice in Canada and Norway. God Save The Queen! thank you for this excellent post Charlotte.

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  2. While I think that both Charles and William will both make fine monarchs, it will be a long, long time before Britian is blessed with another monarch like Queen Elizabeth II. To me, all other monarchs pale in comparison (yes, I'm talking you, Juan). Her sense of duty, commitment and sacrifice is truly inspiring especially in this day and age of the me, me, me mindset and crass celebrities.

    Thanks for such a great post and all the hard work that went into it.

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  3. What an interesting post! Thanks Charlotte!

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  4. What an interesting post! Thanks Charlotte!

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  5. This post brings back a lot of memories for this aging American.

    I was too young to remember the queen and Jackie but remember seeing the photo later and being stunned at the contrast between Jackie's stark gown with its sharp lines and almost no jewellery while the queen, being the queen, had even a brooch on her soft ruffled dress. No wonder the two didn't hit it off although it is ironic about Lee and her divorce. (She was only married a couple of years the first time and at this visit was in a long second marriage.) Now the queen's son has taken his married mistress as a consort and wants to make her queen! Times change fast.

    Charles had his own romantic dispute with President Nixon. He and Anne came to stay at the White House --it was a huge deal, and Nixon tried to push his daughter Tricia off on the prince. Charles is reputed to have said he found her "plastic." Possibly true although she has been happily married for a least forty years now so she may have had the last laugh.

    Being from California, I remember most vividly the queen's visit there during President Reagan's administration. We were in the midst of El Nino weather, and we looked a lot like Somerset does today. (while we're having a drought!) The queen had a wild muddy ride up to the Reagan ranch which was on a very curvy road and they couldn't go horseback riding as planned. It got too rough to stay on the Britainnia so the queen dined unexpected at Trader Vic's, then one of the most fashionable restaurant in San Francisco. All plans were turned upside down but it was said the queen loved it! Her life is to driven by pre-arranged scheduling down to the minute that all the improvising was a huge novelty. There was a touch of sadness though when several secret service agents were killed in a road accident in Yosemite where the queen visited, wearing a suit!

    One of the local papers in the Bay Area was so excited they sent a reporter to London who managed to hand flowers to Diana, and asked if she would ever come to California. She said "You never know!" Sadly she never made it. She looked wonderful in a blue velvet suit. We were all watching the coverage, entranced. William and Kate did come and Kate looked beautiful (including her hair) but the innocent excitement of that earlier trip wasn't there anymore. Diana's death changed that.

    The queen also visited the Bush White House in 2007. She looked truly elegant at the dinner. .

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  6. bluhare in Washington State12 February 2014 at 16:33

    Isn't it amazing. Obama's the 44th president, so the Queen has met with 25% of the total number of presidents. When you look at it like that, it really shows how long she's been reigning.

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    1. Very true, bluhare. And just imagine the stories she could tell over a gin and Dubonnet?

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  7. bluhare in Washington State17 February 2014 at 16:55

    I just now noticed (wandered over to see if there was a new Tiara Time -- HINT, Charlotte!) but if you look at the first photo I cannot believe how much the Queen looks like Margaret. Wow!

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  8. Aw Charlotte, this was such a good post!! I am an avid (make that obsessive!) reader of hrhdk, and I din't realize how often you update this blog too!! I can't believe that your are a student!! Are you studying journalism or history??

    Thanks so much for all the style and historical info!!

    Best wishes!!

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    1. Thank you so much for reading both blogs. I brought back The Royal Digest recently and (although I'm still finding my rhythm) it is so enjoyable. My studies are finance/law based but I would love to study journalism in the future. Thank you :)

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  9. What a show of class! And selfless work - always ready for her people. If anyone still wonders about the merits of monarchy....

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