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  • Luke Gialanella

The Sovereign Meets the President


The first time a sitting President of the United States met a British monarch was in December 1918, at the end of World War I at the signing of the Treaty of Versailles in Versailles, France, where President Woodrow Wilson met King George V.


The first time the British royal family visited the United States on a state trip was in June 1939, when King George VI visited the Roosevelt estate in Hyde Park, New York and met with President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, and the President's mother Sarah Delano Roosevelt.


6 years later, in August 1945, only weeks away from the end of World War II, in Plymouth, England on a US Navy ship, King George VI met President Harry S. Truman.


In October 1957, Queen Elizabeth II visited President Dwight D. Eisenhower in Washington, DC.


In August/September 1959, Eisenhower visited the Queen in Great Britain, taking a tour of the island and meeting Her Majesty at Balmoral Castle in Scotland.


In June 1961, the Queen welcomed President John F. Kennedy and First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy for a state dinner at Buckingham Palace.


In both 1969 and 1970, the Queen met President Richard Nixon in Chequers, Buckinghamshire.


In July 1976, the Queen visited the White House and met President Gerald Ford and First Lady Betty Ford.


In May 1977, the Queen welcomed President Jimmy Carter to Buckingham Palace.


In June 1982, the Queen rose horses with President Ronald Reagan at Windsor Castle.


In 1984, the Queen once again met President Reagan, along with Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher of the UK and West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, for dinner at Buckingham Palace.


In 1988, on their way back from a conference in Moscow, President Reagan and First Lady Nancy Reagan took tea with the Queen in London.


In 1989, the Queen hosted a lunch for President George H.W. Bush and first lady Barbara Bush at Buckingham Palace.


In 1991, President Bush hosted the Queen for an official state visit at the White House.


In 1994, President Bill Clinton and Queen Elizabeth attended a dinner in Portsmouth, England to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the D-Day landings in Normandy.


In 1995, President Clinton met the Queen again on a trip to London.


In 2000, The Queen met President Clinton's family as part of their tour of the United Kingdom.


In July 2001, President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush visited the Queen at Buckingham Palace.


In 2003, President George W. Bush visited again.


In 2007, The Queen received a full ceremony for her official state visit to Washington, DC. It was her first trip to the US since 1991, when his father was president.


In June 2008, Queen Elizabeth returned the favor to Bush and received him at Windsor Castle for a state visit.


In May 2011, President Barack Obama joined the Queen for a state banquet in London, making him the only other president besides George W. Bush to receive the honor of a full state visit.


In July 2018, President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump took tea with the Queen at Windsor Castle, making him the 12th US President to meet the Queen.


FUN FACTS!


The Queen has met more US Presidents than any other British monarch, at 12.


President George W. Bush has met with the Queen more than any other US President, meeting her 4 times.


Though Presidents John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and James Monroe all met King George III, they were not sitting Presidents at the time. They were just diplomats negotiating for American independence.


DEFINITIONS!


A state visit is a formal visit by a head of state to a foreign country, at the invitation of that country's head of state, with the latter also acting as the official host for the duration of the state visit.


A state dinner or state lunch is a dinner or banquet paid for by a government and hosted by a head of state in his or her official residence (in the British monarch's case it is Buckingham Palace) in order to renew and celebrate diplomatic ties between the host country and the country of a foreign head of state or head of government who was issued an invitation.


A head of state (or chief of state) is the public persona that officially represents the national unity and legitimacy of a sovereign state. A head of government (or chief of government) is a generic term used for either the highest or second highest official in the executive branch of a sovereign state, a federated state, or a self-governing colony, (commonly referred to as countries, nations or nation-states) who often presides over a cabinet, a group of ministers or secretaries who lead executive departments. For example, in the United Kingdom, the King/Queen is the head of state, but the Prime Minister is the head of government.


WHY ARE THESE VISITS IMPORTANT?


These visits and meetings are important because in order to strengthen bonds between two countries, there not only needs to be political cooperation but a symbolic image of friendship and loyalty. Without public visits with two heads of state, this image would not be present, and the bond between the countries would be weakened.


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