Elizabeth II and America, a special relationship

During her reign, Queen Elizabeth met 13 presidents, weaving in these meetings her own “special relationship” with the United States. From Truman to Joe Biden, the queen will mark the minds of all American leaders, especially with her sense of duty, her kindness and her humor.

For Barack and Michelle Obama, Queen Elizabeth “means a lot”. (AFP)

She gave her recipe for “scone” to Eisenhower, rode a horse with Reagan, drank tea with Trump … Elizabeth II created her own “special relationship” with the United States through the presidents in America.

Her first official meeting with an American president began in 1951, still immortalized in black and white: Princess Elizabeth waved from behind a convertible, with an obviously delighted Harry Truman .

With the skill of a statesman he launched into the address of the former British colony: “Everywhere free people look to the United States with affection and with hope.”

From Harry Truman to Joe Biden, the United States will elect 14 presidents. He met 13 of them – missing only Lyndon B. Johnson.

Elizabeth II, whose reign married the statement of the American superpower, applied to all her interlocutors in Washington the same treatment, done with formal distance and expert familiarity.

There are banquets at the White House or the inevitable tea at one or the other of the queen’s palaces. Elizabeth appeared fully clothed with the Kennedys. She danced, dressed in a yellow dress and wearing a sparkling tiara, with Gerald Ford, on the occasion of an official dinner that coincided with the bicentenary of American independence.

Between protocol and familiarity
From Harry Truman to Joe Biden, the United States will elect 14 presidents. Elizabeth II will meet 13. (AFP)

But the queen, while satisfying the American press’s greed for etiquette and royal grandeur, was careful to feed it in less formal exchanges. For example, riding a horse in 1982 around Windsor Castle with Ronald Reagan. The former western actor returned the favor in 1983, inviting him to share tacos and guacamole at his California ranch.

Brought by George Bush senior to a baseball game in 1991, he shook hands with all the players. According to a dispatch from the UPI agency at the time, the sovereign avoided hot dogs but drank a cocktail, a martini.

We can also find in the American national archives a letter from his hand, from 1960, in which he entrusted Dwight Eisenhower with his recipe for “scones”, a pastry that the president tasted in his Scottish residence in Balmoral. The dough “must not rest too long before baking,” he recommends.

After all, few American presidents would say they felt an almost filial affection for the old sovereign. “I don’t think he will find it offensive, but he reminds me of my mother”, commented Joe Biden, about his meeting in June 2021 with the sovereign.

The comment is very sweet. In 1982, the young senator Joe Biden, preparing to meet the queen for the first time, received this recommendation from his mother, a proud descendant of an Irish family: “Don’t bow to her “, “Don’t you dare bow down to him.”

The embodiment of an era

Elizabeth II met Harry Truman in 1951 when she still had the title of princess (AFP)

Donald Trump told the Daily Mail that while having tea with Elizabeth II, in 2018 at Windsor Castle, with his wife Melania, he thought of his own mother: “She is a big fan of the Queen.

The age difference obliges, Barack Obama said that the queen reminds him of his grandmother.

The reception of the presidential couple in 2009 at Buckingham Palace is remembered for a hearty departure from protocol: Michelle Obama briefly embraced the queen who, to everyone’s surprise, did the same.

“She meant a lot to us,” the Obamas said in a statement responding to her death.

All five living former US presidents have paid tribute to Elizabeth II, in statements involving their wives. The same words returned from the pen of Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Donald Trump: “elegance”, “sense of duty”, “kindness” and “humor”.

Joe Biden ordered the American flag to be lowered until the funeral, including the White House, which was burned in 1814 by British troops. He also summed up, in a long press release, a feeling felt all over the world and especially in the United States, this country despite everything being young – it is less than 250 years old – while the queen’s life spanned almost a century. .. “Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II is more than a monarch. She embodies an era,” wrote Joe Biden.

With AFP

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