Saturday, October 1

Queen Elizabeth’s storied history of meeting U.S. presidents

Queen Elizabeth II met 13 American presidents during her lifetime and forged fast friendships with many of them over her 70-year reign, reflecting the close ties between the U.S. and U.K.

Truman And Elizabeth II
American President Harry Truman and Elizabeth II, sitting next to each other in the back of the Lincoln Cosmopolitan Presidential state car, with the convertible top open, Washington, DC, October 31, 1951. Image courtesy National Archives.

Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images


While she was a princess, she visited President Harry Truman in Washington, D.C. She ascended the throne in 1952, while Truman was still president, and her coronation took place the following year, when Dwight Eisenhower was president. Eisenhower was the first president she met as queen, although the two had met before, when she was a princess and he was NATO’s first supreme allied commander in Europe. 

General Eisenhower And The Royal Family
President Eisenhower (centre) with the British Royal family (L-R) Prince Philip, Princess Anne, HM Queen Elizabeth, Prince Charles and Captain John Eisenhower, at Balmoral Castle, Scotland, September 1959.

Fox Photos / Getty Images


He and his wife visited her at Balmoral and were apparently impressed by the English drop scones she made for them, so much so that a year later, the queen sent Eisenhower the recipe.

Lyndon Johnson is the only president she never met, although they corresponded. 

She visited the White House during her reign multiple times, the last of which was in 2007, when  George W. Bush was president. 

State Banquet in honour of HRH Queen Elizabeth ll
The Duke of Edinburgh, Laura Bush, HM Queen Elizabeth II and President George W. Bush attend a State Banquet at the White House, Washington DC on May 7, 2007. 

Photo by Anwar Hussein/WireImage


The queen and President Biden met multiple times, even long before he was vice president. Their last meeting was in June 2021 at Windsor Castle, on Mr. Biden’s first international trip as president.

“She reminded me of my mother, in terms of the look of her and just the generosity,” Mr. Biden said at the time, noting that the White House could fit inside the courtyard of Windsor Castle. 

The last time Mr. Biden spoke with the queen was during that 2021 meeting, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Thursday. 

Former President Donald Trump enjoyed a state dinner at Buckingham Palace in 2019 and had tea with the queen at Windsor Castle. 

“We had a long talk. She was very generous,” Trump said during his 2018 visit. 

Queen Presidents
In this July 13, 2018, photo President Donald Trump and Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II inspect a Guard of Honour, formed of the Coldstream Guards at Windsor Castle in Windsor, England.

Matt Dunham/AP


Former President Barack Obama met with the queen in 2009, 2011, 2014 and 2016. He was honored at a state dinner at Buckingham Palace in 2011, and he helped the queen down the steps at Normandy for a D-Day remembrance in 2014. 

“I really love the queen,” Obama told Ben Rhodes, according to Rhodes’ 2018 book. “She’s just like Toot, my grandmother. Courteous. Straightforward. All about what she thinks. She doesn’t suffer fools.” 

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Queen Elizabeth II and President Barack Obama pose with first lady Michelle Obama and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, in the Music Room of Buckingham Palace ahead of a state banquet on May 24, 2011, in London. The first lady wore a white gown by American designer Tom Ford, which she paired with white gloves and long drop earrings.

AFP/Getty Images


There have been awkward moments between the queen and U.S. presidents. 

Former President Jimmy Carter broke protocol when he met the queen by kissing her on the lips instead of bowing. Obama continued his toast even after the band began playing “God Save the Queen” at a dinner at Buckingham Palace. 

Politics - President Jimmy Carter Visit to Britain - Buckingham Palace
President Jimmy Carter joins Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh at Buckingham Palace when he and six other world leaders attended dinner in the Blue Drawing Room.

PA Images/Contributor/Getty


Some presidents introduced the queen to favorite sports. 

In 1991, former President George H. W. Bush took the queen to a baseball game in Baltimore. 

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George H.W. Bush and Queen Elizabeth at a baseball game in 1991

The queen was particularly close to President Ronald Reagan. The two shared a love of horseback riding, and when she and Prince Philip visited the Reagans at Rancho del Cielo, in Santa Barbara, she was disappointed that terrible weather prevented her from seeing California by horseback, according to the Reagan Library. The queen brought the Yacht Britannia with her on the trip and she and Prince Philip hosted the Reagans on the yacht. Reagan described it as a “magic evening” and called the royal couple “really warm, likable people.” 

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President Ronald Reagan and Queen Elizabeth II go for a ride. 

 Courtesy Ronald Reagan Library


The queen died Thursday at 96 years of age, the longest-serving monarch of the United Kingdom.



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