Historic Moments When Queen Elizabeth II Met America's Presidents
Queen Elizabeth II has met 12 American Presidents since she first took the throne of the British monarchy in the 1950s, and not all those meetings were the stuff of the "American Dream." One meeting went so badly, she banned him from Buckingham Palace forever. (Hint: It isn't who you think it is!)
Let’s take a look at the 12 American Presidents who met the Queen and learn a little more about those meetings. You might be surprised to learn which President impressed Her Royal Highness the most.
Queen Elizabeth II — Quick Facts
Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain is the longest reigning monarch in British history. In February 2017, she celebrated 65 years on the throne with her Sapphire Jubilee. Born Princess Elizabeth Alexandra Mary on April 21, 1926, in London, she became Queen on February 6, 1952, and was formally crowned on June 2, 1953.
Queen Elizabeth II — Early Life
Queen Elizabeth II wasn't supposed to be Queen, but that all changed when her uncle abdicated the throne to her father in 1936. Her first decade was privileged and carefree. When World War II broke out in Europe in 1939, Elizabeth broadcast messages to British children to keep them calm.
Queen Elizabeth II — The Crown
Before World War II, Elizabeth's grandfather, George V, died in 1936. Edward VIII became King of England, but he was in love with Wallis Simpson, an American divorcée. Because she wasn’t a British noble, King Edward was strictly forbidden from marrying her and had to choose between her and the crown.
Queen Elizabeth II’s Reign — Part 1
The Queen's reign has been long and mostly peaceful. She is seen more as a respected figurehead, rather than an influential political figure. She even prefers to never speak about her political views, instead choosing to confer with the British Prime Ministers on important issues.
Queen Elizabeth II’s Reign — Part 2
Queen Elizabeth toured Oman, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, which earned her international respect. She eliminated the Civil List, a public funding system for the monarchy. She visited Ireland in 2011 and continues to attend more than 400 engagements each year.
Queen Elizabeth II — Relationships with World Leaders
Queen Elizabeth has worked with 14 British Prime Ministers during her reign and met 12 American Presidents in her more than 65 years on the throne. That means she has met more than a quarter of all the U.S. Presidents in history, with her most recent being President Donald Trump.
President Donald Trump — Quick Facts
Republican party President Donald Trump entered politics later in life and was originally a businessman and television personality. Born and raised in New York City, he has built multiple skyscrapers, casinos, hotels and golf courses. His policies have often been described as nationalist, protectionist and populist, and he is the oldest first-term President without prior military or government service.
President Donald Trump — Meeting the Queen
When President Donald Trump met Queen Elizabeth II for the first time in 2018, he committed several royal faux pas. First, he was late, and then he walked in front of her, turned his back to her and shook her hand instead of bowing.
President Barack Obama — Quick Facts
The 44th President of the United States Barack Obama enjoyed two terms in office from 2009 to 2017. He was the first African American to be elected, and he previously served as a U.S. senator from Illinois.
President Barack Obama — Meeting the Queen
President Barack Obama first met Queen Elizabeth II in 2009. He gave her an iPod with video footage of all her previous visits to the U.S. dating back to the 1950s. This took place at the State Banquet at Buckingham Palace (pictured here).
President George W. Bush — Quick Facts
The 43rd President of the United States, George W. Bush Jr, served two terms from 2001 to 2009. A politician and businessman, he is the son of the 41st President, George H.W. Bush. He graduated from Yale University, Harvard Business School and married his wife, Laura Welch, shortly after graduation.
President George W. Bush — Meeting the Queen
Queen Elizabeth II had a lot of respect for George W. Bush's father, and she honored him with the same level of respect. While attending the White House Banquet in 2007, George W. mistakenly stated that the Queen had come to America to celebrate the bicentennial in 1776 instead of 1976.
President Bill Clinton — Quick Facts
The 42nd President of the United States, Bill Clinton, had two terms as President from 1993 until 2001. Prior to that, he served as Governor of Arkansas and Attorney General of Arkansas. Unfortunately, he may be as famous for his alleged sexual misconduct related to his affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky as he is for his accomplishments.
President Bill Clinton — Meeting the Queen
The Clintons met with Queen Elizabeth multiple times, including right before President Clinton was impeached at the end of 2000. The Queen and the Clintons enjoyed tea while wrapping up a three-day trip to England, Northern Ireland and Ireland.
President George H.W. Bush — Quick Facts
Father of future President George W. Bush and the 41st President of the United States himself, George H.W. Bush served in the Navy during World War II. He spent one term in office, graduated from Yale and served as Ambassador to the United Nations in 1971 after being appointed by President Richard Nixon.
President George H. W. Bush — Meeting the Queen
To say George H.W. Bush loved baseball would be an understatement. He attended many games over the course of his life. Why is this relevant? The President invited Queen Elizabeth II to her first-ever baseball game between the Oakland Athletics and the Baltimore Orioles (pictured here).
President Ronald Reagan — Quick Facts
President Ronald Reagan held multiple titles, including the 40th President of the United States, the 33rd Governor of California — and the 9th and 13th Presidents of the Screen Actors Guild. Yep, Reagan was an actor-turned-politician who grew up in a low-income household, graduated from Eureka College and worked as a sports commentator not long before switching to politics.
President Ronald Reagan — Meeting the Queen
Queen Elizabeth II and the Reagans were so close that she even visited the Reagan ranch in 1983. They often rode horses together (pictured here) when they met, and they spoke to each other like old friends. The Reagans often invited the Queen and her children to join them on their yacht.
President Jimmy Carter — Quick Facts
James Earl Carter, more commonly known as Jimmy Carter, was the 39th President of the United States as well as the former Governor of Georgia and a member of the Georgia State Senate. He won a Nobel Peace Prize for his work with the Carter Center and graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1946 with a Bachelor of Science degree.
President Jimmy Carter — Meeting the Queen
President Jimmy Carter made such a courtly blunder that he was never invited to Buckingham Palace again. While attending a dinner in the Blue Drawing Room with six other NATO world leaders, he kissed the Queen Mother on the lips.
President Gerald Ford — Quick Facts
The less than one term President of the United States Gerald Ford was also the 40th Vice President, the House Minority Leader and the House Republican Conference Leader. Despite his credentials, he spent the shortest time in office (895 days), outside of a President's death.
President Gerald Ford — Meeting the Queen
Most of the meetings between President Gerald Ford and Queen Elizabeth II were humorous because the Fords didn't know how to act around royalty. They were never disrespectful, but they were definitely naive. Betty Ford, for example, kept mixing up Your Highness and Your Majesty when referring to the Queen.
President Richard Nixon — Quick Facts
Richard Nixon wasn't just the 37th President of the United States. He was also the 36th Vice President and a senator for California. He was born to a low-income family and graduated from Duke University School of Law. He almost served two full terms in office but resigned due to the Watergate Scandal in 1974.
Richard Nixon — Meeting the Queen
The Nixons had a mostly formal relationship with the Queen. When Queen Elizabeth II met President Nixon in 1969, he served as her guide during their time in the United States. They also attended the American Memorial Chapel in London together.
President John F. Kennedy — Quick Facts
JFK was born into a wealthy family, graduated from Harvard and joined the U.S. Naval Reserves during World War II. He held multiple seats of power in Massachusetts before becoming the 35th President of the United States. He was the President during the most heated events of the Cold War, including the Cuban Missile Crisis.
President John F. Kennedy — Meeting the Queen
Queen Elizabeth II first met the Kennedys at Buckingham Palace in 1961. JFK had only been President for a few months at the time, but when he arrived in England, he was greeted by half a million people.
President Dwight D. Eisenhower — Quick Facts
The 34th President of the United States, Dwight D. Eisenhower was a five-star general in the Army, 1st Supreme Allied Commander in Europe, the 16th Chief of Staff of the Army and the Military Governor of the U.S. Occupation Zone in Germany. Much of his service occurred during World War II.
President Dwight D. Eisenhower — Meeting the Queen
Meeting President Eisenhower marked the first time Elizabeth met an American President as Queen. In 1957, she charmed the new President, with one of his politicians on staff remarking that they had fallen in love with her.
President Harry Truman — Quick Facts
One of the few Vice Presidents to take office after the death of a President, Harry Truman became the 33rd President of the United States after the death of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Most famous for establishing both NATO and the Truman Doctrine, he fought in the United States Army during World War I and was sent to France as a captain in the Field Artillery.
President Harry Truman — Meeting the Queen
Harry Truman was the first U.S. President to meet with Queen Elizabeth II, but at the time she was still a princess. It also marked the first time she traveled to the United States. She met with the President on behalf of the royal family because her father was ill.