Lucky Number: Biden is the 13th US President to meet the Queen | New Policies
By DANICA KIRKA and DARLENE SUPERVILLE, Associated Press
LONDON (AP) — Imagine trying to make an impression on someone who has met, well, almost everyone.
That is the challenge for President Joe Biden, who is due to sip tea with Queen Elizabeth II at Windsor Castle on Sunday after a summit of Group of Seven leaders in south-west England.
Biden, accompanied by his wife, Jill, became the 13th president to meet the monarch, getting to know her on Friday night at an inland rainforest reception she and other royals hosted for the leaders attending a summit in Cornwall of the world’s seven largest economies.
The White House says Biden met the Queen in 1982, but that was when he was a US senator.
The monarch, now 95, has met every US president since Dwight Eisenhower during his nearly 70-year reign, except Lyndon Johnson, who has not visited Britain during his tenure.
She was a 25-year-old princess when she came to Washington in 1951 and stayed with President Harry S. Truman and his family at Blair House, where Truman lived while the White House was undergoing a major renovation. She met Herbert Hoover in 1957, more than 20 years after leaving office.
Her personal ties to American leaders underscore the importance of the United States to Britain and to the Queen. She came of age during World War II and understands the pivotal role the transatlantic alliance has played in modern British history, said Robert Hardman, author of ‘Queen of the World’, which examines her role as representation of Britain on the world stage.
“She grew up with this kind of feeling that the United States is almost some kind of salvation that came and saved Europe in the darkest days of war,” Hardman told The Associated Press.
Here are highlights of some of his meetings, on both sides of the pond, with former US presidents:
Trump and the Queen met in July 2018 at Windsor Castle during a visit to Britain that sparked large anti-Trump protests in central London, including the hoisting of a balloon depicting Trump in a diaper.
He was criticized for breaking protocol by walking briefly in front of the Queen – instead of being beside her – and turning his back on her as they examined an honor guard.
Trump later said he was thinking of his late mother, Mary Anne, who was born in Scotland and loved the royal family, when he and his wife, Melania, sipped tea with the Queen.
Trump’s later comment that the Queen told him Brexit – Britain’s break with the European Union – was complex also caused a stir. Most heads of state keep their private conversations with the Queen secret. She also does not discuss political issues.
The Trumps and the royal family met again during the D-Day commemoration in 2019.
Obama and the Queen had their first of three meetings in April 2009 at a reception for world leaders attending the Group of 20 nations summit in London.
This is where First Lady Michelle Obama broke protocol by briefly putting an arm around the Queen’s back as she commiserated over her sore feet. It’s usually a no-no to touch the Queen, but she returned Mrs. Obama’s gesture.
The Queen invited the Obamas for a state visit in 2011 which included a two-night stay at Buckingham Palace and a lavish banquet in honor of the President.
As Obama toasted the Queen, he didn’t miss a beat when the band assumed a pause in his remarks meant he had wrapped up and kicked off a rendition of “God Save the Queen.” Obama continued talking over the music until the group quieted down.
The couples saw each other again in 2016 when Obama visited the Queen at Windsor Castle a day after her 90th birthday during another trip through Europe.
Bush hated stuffy, formal business, but he donned a white tuxedo with tie after the Queen pulled out all the stops for a state dinner in his honor at Buckingham Palace in November 2003.
A few years later, Bush’s slip caused ripples of laughter at a White House welcoming ceremony for the Queen, who was on a tour of the United States in May 2007.
Stumbling over a line in his speech, Bush said the Queen dined with several of her predecessors and helped the United States “celebrate its bicentennial in 17-…” Bush caught up and corrected the date to 1976, and stopped to see if she got offended.
“She gave me a look that only a mother could give a child,” Bush said with a smile.
Later, the Queen turned things around with Bush with her toast at a dinner she hosted for the President at the British Embassy in Washington.
“I was wondering if I should start this toast by saying, ‘When I was here in 1776,'” she laughed.
The Queen welcomed Clinton and his wife, Hillary, aboard her royal yacht, Britannia, in June 1994.
The ship, 412ft (125m) long and 55ft (17m) wide, was moored at Portsmouth Naval Base and was the base for the Clintons as they attended the Queen’s Dinner at Guildhall to the leaders of the Allied nations whose troops participated in the D-Day invasion of Normandy 50 years earlier.
The Clintons spent a night aboard the boat. The following day, the Britannia carried Clinton to the aircraft carrier USS George Washington as she prepared to sail across the English Channel from Portsmouth to Normandy for D-Day anniversary celebrations.
One of the most memorable images from the monarch’s third state visit to the United States came in 1991, when only her white-striped purple hat could be seen above the microphones as she spoke during of an arrival ceremony on the grounds of the White House.
Someone forgot to adjust the desk after the much taller Bush spoke.
The Queen remained strong and carried on, later shedding light on the incident by opening a speech at a joint meeting of Congress.
“I hope you can see me today from where you are,” she deadpanned. Bush later apologized and said he felt bad for not taking a step so she could stand.
Reagan and the Queen bonded over their mutual love of horseback riding.
They rode side by side on an 8-mile (13 kilometer) one-hour tour of the grounds of Windsor Castle when Reagan visited in June 1982. Reagan was the first president to sleep in the house historic building of the British royal family, an 11th century estate overlooking the Thames.
While in the United States in 1983, the monarch and Philip stayed with President and First Lady Nancy Reagan at their ranch in Santa Barbara, California. She wanted to ride again, but a storm wouldn’t let her. The Reagans served a lunch of regional staples, including enchiladas, relleno peppers, refried beans, tacos, rice and guacamole.
They also hosted a State Dinner for the Queen in San Francisco at the MH de Young Memorial Museum.
The Queen welcomed Carter in May 1977 on her first overseas trip to a dinner for NATO leaders at Buckingham Palace. At one point, as Carter stood with the Queen and other guests, he noticed the Queen Mother arriving.
Ever the Southern gentleman, Carter broke away, took her by the hand, and escorted her to the gathered line of guests.
The no-frills Georgia peanut farmer-turned-president ate chicken mousse from a gold plate and looked excited about his dinner between the Queen and her sister, Princess Margaret, and in front of her son, Prince Charles , Prince Philip and the Queen Mother .
Ford hosted a gala dinner for the British in 1976 to mark the bicentenary of the American Revolution. The Queen looked resplendent in a diamond-encrusted tiara that sparkled for a crowd of diplomats, star athletes and celebrities such as Cary Grant and Julie Harris.
The mood evaporated as Ford led the Queen onto the dance floor as the song “The Lady Is a Tramp” echoed throughout the State Dining Room.
Superville reported from Washington. AP News researcher Jennifer Farrar in New York and Associated Press writer Nancy Benac in Washington contributed to this report.
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