Trump UK visit: The Queen’s many encounters with US presidents, from Truman to Obama

Monarch has met every Potus since 1945 except for Lyndon Johnson, treating them to formal dinners, dancing and horse riding

Joe Sommerlad
Monday 03 June 2019 09:31
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The Queen is set to meet Donald Trump when the US president visits Britain on Monday.

Her majesty, who has met every single US president since 1945, with the exception of Lyndon Johnson, will entertain Mr Trump and first lady Melania Trump with lunch at Buckingham Palace, a tour of Westminster Abbey and a state banquet.

She last met Mr Trump at Windsor Castle in July 2018, prior to which she hosted his predecessor Barack Obama and his wife Michelle at the same venue on 22 April 2016 – a trip on which the Obamas also met the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at Kensington Palace.

The Queen had previously entertained President Obama for a black tie dinner at Winfield House in London on 25 May 2011, the president stopping by on the second leg of a European tour.

George W Bush and his wife Laura were guests at Buckingham Palace in the early days of the War on Terror on 19 November 2003, greeted by the Queen and prime minister Tony Blair and treated to a 41-gun salute.

She met President Bush again in Arromanches, France, for a service in 2004 to mark the 60th anniversary of D-Day landings during the Second World War and then crossed the pond to join him for the 400th anniversary of the founding of the Jamestown settlement in 2007.

Like Mr Trump and the Obamas, Mr Bush was also entertained at Windsor Castle, taking tea with the monarch in St George’s Hall on 15 June 2008, during the final months of his administration.

She met Bill Clinton at a service to mark the 50th anniversary of D-Day in Normandy in 1994 before hosting him at Buckingham Palace, with wife Hillary and daughter Chelsea in tow, on 14 December 2000. The Clintons were taking a coffee break from their three-day tour of the UK and Ireland at the time.

George HW Bush had likewise visited Buckingham Palace in 1989 before taking on the hosting duties when Queen Elizabeth visited the White House in mid-May 1991. She took a helicopter ride and witnessed her first-ever Major League Baseball game between the Baltimore Orioles and Oakland Athletics, even meeting the players.

She met Ronald Reagan and his wife Nancy on several occasions, hosting them for horse riding in Windsor in 1982 and visiting their Rancho del Cielo property in California’s Santa Ynez Mountains in 1983, a relationship that soured somewhat when his administration invaded Grenada, a Commonwealth realm, that same year with no warning.

The Reagans were nevertheless invited to Buckingham Palace on 2 June 1988 and again a year later when she awarded him an honorary knighthood.

The palace had also served as the venue for a dinner in honour of Jimmy Carter in May 1977 where the president made a gaffe in attempting to kiss her on the cheek rather than bow, an informality to which she apparently took exception.

The Queen danced with Gerald Ford at a state dinner at the White House on 17 July 1976. Never let it be said the monarch does not have a sense of fun: the tune played by a Marines band was Frank Sinatra's hit “The Lady is a Tramp”.

Richard Nixon met the Queen at Buckingham Palace in 1969, exchanging signed photographs and apologising for his wife Patricia's absence. The latter would join him for a trip to the prime minister’s country estate of Chequers in Buckinghamshire on October 3 1970 when Ted Heath was in residence. The Queen joined the party.

As depicted in the Netflix series The Crown, her majesty met John F Kennedy, his wife Jackie and brother Bobby at Buckingham Palace when she held a dinner for them on 5 June 1961. The subject of much press excitement, Kennedy later wrote to her saying he would “always cherish the memory of that delightful evening”.

Queen Elizabeth encountered Dwight Eisenhower on her first state visit as monarch in 1957 and at the St Hubert Royal Canadian Air Force station when she attended the official opening of the St Lawrence Seaway on 26 June 1959, taking in a short cruise in the royal yacht, Britannia. She and her family also put him up at Balmoral in Scotland two months later.

On that 1957 tour, she also met Herbert Hoover at New York’s Waldorf Astoria Hotel but it was after his time in office had come to a close. Mayor Robert Wagner was also in attendance at the lunch on 21 October after throwing a ticker tape parade along Broadway in her honour and greeting her at City Hall.

Her first encounter with a US president was while she was still a princess. Elizabeth and Prince Philip hosted Harry Truman at the Canadian Embassy in Washington, DC, on 1 November 1951, a time when fears for her father King George VI’s health was such that her private secretary Martin Charteris carried a draft accession declaration with him at all times in case the worst should happen.

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