• History

Here’s How Every Meeting Between the Queen and a U.S. President Went

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Given Queen Elizabeth II’s record as the world’s longest-reigning monarch before her death on Sept. 8, she had met a huge number of world leaders. Notably she met 13 of the 14 U.S. presidents who have held office since her coronation in 1952—all except Lyndon B. Johnson, who only made state visits to Asia during his time in office.

The most recent U.S. president to visit the U.K. and meet Queen Elizabeth II was President Biden, in June 2021. President Biden and First Lady Jill Biden met the Queen at Windsor Castle where they had afternoon tea at the end of the G7 leaders’ summit.

The Queen also met President Donald Trump in 2019 at Buckingham Palace where he was also hosted for a state dinner during an official state visit to Britain. There were protests in several cities condemning the U.K.’s red-carpet treatment of the controversial president.

Below, a timeline of what happened during the Queen’s previous meetings with American leaders.

Harry Truman – October 31, 1951

Harry Truman And Elizabeth In Automobile
President Harry S. Truman and Britain's Princess Elizabeth are shown as their motorcade got underway following the reception ceremony at Washington National Airport on October 31, 1951.Bettmann Archive/Getty Images

Elizabeth was not yet queen when, at the age of 25, the princess first met an American president. Harry Truman and his wife Bess hosted Elizabeth and Prince Philip on a two-day visit to Washington D.C. Acting on behalf of her father King George VI, who was gravely ill at the time, Elizabeth gave Truman an ornate 18th-century ‘over mantle’ to hang above a fireplace in the White House, as Pathé newsreel from the time shows. The president said that, while he had received many guests in Washington, “never before have we had such a wonderful young couple, who have so completely captured the hearts of all of us.”

Dwight D. Eisenhower – October 17, 1957

First Couples
20th October 1957: Queen Elizabeth II, US president Dwight D Eisenhower (1890 - 1969) with his wife Mamie (1896 - 1979) and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh at a White House State banquet.Keystone/Getty Images

Four years after she was crowned, Queen Elizabeth made her first state visit to the U.S., midway through Dwight D. Eisenhower’s two terms as president. The visit came during the Cold War—a crucial time for the U.S.-U.K alliance. British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan was also in town for urgent talks with the American leadership. The Queen, though, found time for more lighthearted events, as chronicled by LIFE Magazine, including a state dinner, a visit to Jamestown, Va.—site of the first British settlement in America—and her first American college football game. She also met former President Herbert Hoover at New York’s Waldorf Astoria Hotel. Two years later Elizabeth hosted Eisenhower at Balmoral.

John F. Kennedy – June 15, 1961

The Kennedys With The Queen
At Buckingham Palace during a banquet held in his honor, American President John F. Kennedy and his wife, First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, pose with Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain and her husband, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, London, United Kingdom, June 15, 1961.PhotoQuest/Getty Images

Half a million people turned out to greet President John F. Kennedy and First Lady Jacqueline when they arrived in London for a visit in 1961, just a few months after Kennedy’s inauguration. Netflix series The Crown recreated the visit in its second season, making much of the First Lady’s alleged criticisms of the Queen’s old-fashioned style. The royals hosted the Kennedys at a lavish state dinner at Buckingham Palace and the President later wrote to the Queen saying he would “always cherish the memory of that delightful evening.”

Richard Nixon – February 15, 1969

Politics - President Richard Nixon UK Visit - London
Queen Elizabeth II with American President Richard Nixon, as they walk through the corridors of Buckingham Palace on February 25, 1969. With them are the Duke of Edinburgh and Prince of Wales.PA Images via Getty Images

The Queen had already met Nixon in 1957 when he was Vice President under Eisenhower. But their first meeting as two heads of state took place in 1969 when Nixon made an informal visit to the U.K., shortly after taking office. The Queen and Prince Philip hosted him at Buckingham Palace and exchanged signed photos of themselves, while a television crew captured the occasion for a documentary called the Royal Family, broadcast later that year.

Gerald Ford – July 17, 1976

Gerald Ford (1913-2006) 38th President of the United States 1974-1977, dancing with Queen Elizabeth II at the ball at the White House, Washington, during the 1976 Bicentennial Celebrations of the Declaration of Independence.
Gerald Ford, 38th President of the United States 1974-1977, dancing with Queen Elizabeth II at the ball at the White House, Washington, during the 1976 Bicentennial Celebrations of the Declaration of Independence.Universal Images Group/Getty Images

Shortly after the 200th anniversary of America’s declaration of independence from Britain, the Queen came to Washington to celebrate the continuing relationship between the two countries with a state dinner hosted by Gerald Ford and his wife Betty. The pair shared a dance and the President promised the Queen, “the United States [has] never forgotten its British heritage.” First Lady Betty Ford later wrote in her memoir that “the Queen was easy to deal with” and “If I hadn’t kept mixing up Your Highness and Your Majesty (he’s His Highness, she’s Her Majesty) I’d give myself four stars for the way that visit went off.”

Jimmy Carter – May 7, 1977

Politics - World Leaders at Buckingham Palace, London
US President Jimmy Carter speaks with Her Majesties The Queen and the Queen Mother as Prince Philip and Italian Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti (look on in the Blue Drawing Room at Buckingham Palace on May 7, 1977PA Images/Getty Images

A year after her visit for the American Independence Bicentennial, the Queen hosted President Jimmy Carter at Buckingham Palace for a dinner with other heads of state during a NATO summit. Carter famously broke royal protocol by kissing the Queen Mother on the lips. She was apparently mortified, saying “Nobody has done that since my husband died.”

Ronald Reagan – June 7, 1982

Queen And President
Queen Elizabeth II riding in the grounds of Windsor Castle with US President Ronald Reagan, during his state visit to the UK, 8th June 1982.Georges De Keerle/Getty Images

In 1982, traveling with his wife Nancy, Ronald Reagan became the first American president to stay overnight at Windsor Castle—which Trump is set to visit after spending the night at the U.S. ambassador’s home in central London. It was the first of three trips the Reagans made to see the Queen in the U.K., and she also visited their ranch near Santa Barbara, Ca., in 1983. Reagan wrote in his memoir that the 1982 trip was a “fairytale visit” and one of the most “fun” moments of his presidency. He said the highlight was horseback riding with Elizabeth while Nancy and Philip rode in a horse-drawn carriage. “I must admit, the Queen is quite an accomplished horsewoman,” he wrote.

George H.W. Bush – June 1, 1989

Elizabeth II [& Husband] [RF: England RF];Elizabeth II [& Husband] [RF: England RF];Philip [RF: England RF];Philip [RF: England RF];George H. W. Bush [& Wife]
President George H. W. Bush and signature-pearls-sporting Barbara Bush with. Queen Elizabeth II & Prince Philip, at Buckingham Palace, London, England on June 1, 1989Diana Walker/Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images

George H.W. Bush first met the Queen in 1989 in London. During the visit, Bush also met Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, who, he wrote disparagingly in his memoir, gave him “a lecture on freedom.” Elizabeth, meanwhile, took the Bushes on a tour of Buckingham Palace. The Queen reciprocated the visit with a trip to Washington two years later.

Bill Clinton – June 4, 1994

US President Bill Clinton and Britain's
US President Bill Clinton and Britain's Queen Elizabeth II smile for the cameras during the group photo session at the Guildhall 04 June 1994 prior to a celebratory banquet for the 50th anniversary of the D-Day invasion of Normandy.Gerry Penny/Getty Images

President Clinton made several visits to the U.K. during his presidency, in part because of his involvement in the peace process in Northern Ireland. He first met the Queen at a banquet honoring the 50th anniversary of World War II’s D-Day in the city of Portsmouth, southern England. Six years later the Queen hosted Bill, Hilary and Chelsea at Buckingham Palace for tea.

George W. Bush – November 21, 2003

President Bush Attends Banquet At Buckingham Palace
Queen Elizabeth II , U.S. President George W. Bush, First Lady Laura Bush and HRH the Duke of Edinburgh pose in the music room at Buckingham Palace on November 19, 2003 in London.Getty Images

George W. Bush first met the Queen over lunch at Buckingham Palace during a six-day European tour in 2001 and in 2003 became the first U.S. president to make an official state visit to the U.K. It was the Queen’s most controversial meeting with an American president—until Trump. To coincide with Bush’s visit in November, around 100,000 people took to the streets to protest the Iraq War, reportedly costing the U.K. millions in security spending during the three-day visit. The demonstration culminated with protesters toppling an effigy of Bush, recalling scenes of the fall of Saddam Hussein’s statue in Baghdad six months earlier. George and Laura Bush were treated to a 41-gun salute and later attended a state banquet at Buckingham Palace.

Barack Obama – May 24, 2011

BESTPIX  US President Barack Obama Visits The UK - Day One
U.S. President Barack Obama and Queen Elizabeth II during a State Banquet in Buckingham Palace on May 24, 2011 in London, England.WPA Pool/Getty Images

Barack and Michelle Obama met Elizabeth and Philip on a state visit in 2011. The Obamas presented her with a set of memorabilia and photographs from her parents’ trip to the U.S. in 1939. In return, she gave them a collection of letters exchanged between previous monarchs and U.S. presidents. Looking at the letters relating to the American Revolution, Obama joked, “That was only a temporary blip in the relationship.” The Obamas met the Queen twice more and on her 90th birthday the president said, “She is truly one of my favorite people.”

Donald Trump – July 13, 2018 and June 3, 2019

The President Of The United States And Mrs Trump Meet HM Queen
The Queen walks with President Trump as they inspect the Coldstream guards at Windsor castle on July 13, 2018.Times Photographer Richard Pohle—Getty Images

President Trump first met the Queen on an official visit in 2018, when they had tea at Windsor Castle. He largely avoided London, where tens of thousands of protesters turned out to criticize his rhetoric and policy on issues including migration, gender and LGBTQ rights.

On his 2019 visit, the President and first Lady spent more time with the Royals than they did the year before — though once again there were protests in a number of parts of the country. They flew by helicopter to Buckingham Palace and were greeted by the Queen, Prince Charles and Camila Parker-Bowles. The couple shook hands with the Queen before heading inside for a private lunch.


U.S. President Trump's State Visit To UK - Day One
Queen Elizabeth II greets US President Donald Trump as he arrives for the Ceremonial Welcome at Buckingham Palace, London, on day one of his three day state visit to the U.K. on June 3, 2019.Victoria Jones—Getty Images

President Trump and First Lady Melania also dined with the royals and some 170 guests with ties to the U.S. in the grand ballroom of Buckingham Palace. Outgoing British Prime Minister Theresa May attended the dinner but leaders of the U.K.’s main opposition parties — Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn and the Liberal Democrats’ Vince Cable — declined to attend.

Joe Biden – June 13, 2021

President Biden met the Queen at Windsor Castle along with First Lady Jill Biden. Their visit included a Guard of Honor and afternoon tea with the Queen. Their visit was at the end of the G7 Summit in Cornwall. The President and First Lady also met the Queen a few days earlier at a reception for G7 leaders.

President Biden said they had spoken about Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese leader Xi Jinping. He also said that he told her she reminded him of his mother.

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Write to Ciara Nugent at ciara.nugent@time.com