You’ll Never Believe Which President Queen Elizabeth II Never Met (or Why She Might Not Meet Donald Trump)
Since Queen Elizabeth II assumed the throne in 1952, 11 U.S. presidents have been elected. As a show of international diplomacy, the queen has met with all of them except for one. And that isn’t even accounting for Donald Trump.
Read on to discover which American presidents Queen Elizabeth II has met. And don’t miss the details on the one recent president she never met (on page 13), as well as the reason why she might never meet Donald Trump (on page 14).
1. Herbert Hoover
- In office: 1929 to 1933
CNN reports that Herbert Hoover concluded his years in the Oval Office before Queen Elizabeth II came to the throne. However, the two took the opportunity to meet in 1957, when the queen took a royal tour of the United States.
She spoke at a luncheon held at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, where they were seated next to one another. On the same visit, ABC New reports, the queen was given a ticker tape parade up lower Broadway and an official welcome at City Hall.
Next: Elizabeth met this president before she became queen.
2. Harry S. Truman
- In office: 1945 to 1953
Queen Elizabeth II actually met Harry S. Truman before she became queen, as CNN notes. In 1951, then-Princess Elizabeth and her husband, Prince Phillip, made a state visit to the United States. Truman and his wife received the royal couple in Washington.
And as CNN reports, Truman has the unique distinction of being the only U.S. president that Elizabeth met when she was still a princess.
Next: This commander-in-chief became the first sitting president to meet Queen Elizabeth II during her reign.
3. Dwight D. Eisenhower
- In office: 1953 to 1961
CNN reports that Dwight D. Eisenhower became the first sitting president to meet Queen Elizabeth II during her reign. Eisenhower hosted her during a state visit in 1957. And they met again on a visit to Canada two years later in 1959.
As a representative of Canada and the head of the Commonwealth, the queen received Eisenhower before the official opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway. She even took him on a brief cruise aboard the royal yacht, Britannia.
Next: This president and his wife met the queen at Buckingham Palace.
4. John F. Kennedy
- In office: 1961 to 1963
John F. Kennedy and his wife, Jacqueline Kennedy, visited London in 1961. CNN reports that amid “much fanfare and huge media interest,” the Kennedy’s had dinner with the queen at Buckingham Palace. In a letter written to the queen, he later wished her a happy birthday.
Additionally, Kennedy wrote, “May I also at the same time say how grateful my wife and I are for the cordial hospitality offered to us by your Majesty and Prince Phillip during our visit to London last Monday. We shall always cherish the memory of that delightful evening.”
Next: This president brought a photo of himself for the queen.
5. Richard Nixon
- In office: 1969 to 1974
CNN reports that Richard Nixon made an informal visit to the United Kingdom shortly after he became president. He met Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace. The queen prepared signed photographs or herself and Prince Phillip to serve as a souvenir for Nixon. Nixon had brought a signed headshot.
But he also told the queen, “I didn’t bring along this time, ’cause this trip was so hurried. But we just had a picture taken of the two of us, I would like to send you one of that because it would be much more pleasant to look at the two of us.” The queen reportedly laughed and responded, “That’s very nice of you.”
Next: This president danced with Queen Elizabeth II during a state dinner at the White House.
6. Gerald Ford
- In office: 1974 to 1977
In 1976, Gerald Ford held a state dinner in honor of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip at the White House. As ABC reports, Ford took the queen “for a spin around the dance floor when she visited the White House in 1976.”
The publication reports that just as the two hit the dance floor, the Marine band struck up the song, “The Lady Is a Tramp.” Photojournalists documented the pair’s time on the dance floor. And the queen also posed for photographs on a balcony at the White House with the president and first lady Betty Ford.
Next: The queen reportedly held a grudge against this president for the way he greeted her.
7. Jimmy Carter
- In office: 1977 to 1981
During the first year of his presidency, Jimmy Carter attended a dinner for foreign heads of state held at Buckingham Palace. Carter described the palace as “one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen.” He also noted that he had a “good place to sit” at the dinner.
“I was between the queen and Princess Margaret, and across the table was Prince Charles and Prince Phillip and the Queen Mother.” However, ABC reports that the queen held a grudge against Carter for years because instead of greeting her with a bow, he instead went in for a kiss.
Next: This president became the first president in more than 35 years to be knighted by the queen.
8. Ronald Reagan
- In office: 1981 to 1989
CNN reports that the Reagans became the first U.S. family to stay as overnight guests of the sovereign at Windsor Castle. In his memoirs, Ronald Reagan fondly recalled that visit in 1982. “There were many, many small moments that made my job fun,” he wrote. Reagan recalled “landing in a helicopter on the lawn of Windsor Castle for a fairytale visit with Queen Elizabeth and the royal family.”
Reagan also noted, “The highlight of our stay there came when the Queen and I went horseback riding together, and Nancy and Prince Phillip took a horse-drawn carriage ride. I must admit, the Queen is quite an accomplished horsewoman.” As International Business Times noted, Reagan rode a horse named Centennial, and the queen rode one named Burmese.
Next: This president took Queen Elizabeth II to a baseball game.
9. George H.W. Bush
- In office: 1989 to 1993
George H.W. Bush visited Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace in 1989. And in 1991, she attended as a guest of honor at a state dinner at the White House. CNN reports that the two leaders exchanged toasts “about the legacy of human rights and the rule of law bequeathed upon the United States by Great Britain.” Bush said, “Most of all what links our countries is less a place than an idea. The idea that for nearly 400 years has been America’s inheritance and England’s bequest. The legacy of democracy, the rule of law, and basic human rights.”
Politico also reports that it was also with Bush that the queen saw her first Major League Baseball game. The two took a helicopter from the White House to Baltimore to catch a game. As ABC News explains, the queen and the president even met some of the players at the game between the Oakland Athletics and the Baltimore Orioles.
Next: This president drank coffee during a ‘tea’ with the queen at Buckingham Palace.
10. Bill Clinton
- In office: 1993 to 2001
CNN reports that Bill Clinton met Queen Elizabeth II more than once during his tenure as president. In 1994, Clinton met her at a service to mark the 50th anniversary of the D-Day landings in Normandy. He also had tea with her at Buckingham Palace in 2000.
Clinton said that on that occasion, he drank a little coffee, while Hillary Clinton drank tea. Clinton also said, “I always marvel when we meet at what a keen judge she is of human events. I think she’s a very impressive person. I like her very much.”
Next: This president misspoke when welcoming the queen to the United States.
11. George W. Bush
- In office: 2001 to 2009
CNN reports that George W. Bush visited the queen on an official state visit in 2003. And the queen traveled to the United States in 2007, for a celebration of the 400th anniversary of the founding of Jamestown. During his welcoming speech at that event, Bush accidentally messed up his lines.
He started to say to the queen, “You helped our nation celebrate its bicentennial in 17–,” accidentally implying that Queen Elizabeth II had been on the throne since the 18th century. Bush turned to the queen and winked at her. But later he said that she gave him “a look that only a mother could give a child.”
Next: This president’s wife caused an international scandal by hugging the queen.
12. Barack Obama
- In office: 2009 to 2017
Barack Obama visited the United Kingdom in 2009. During his visit, he said, “There’s one last thing that I should mention that I love about Great Britain, and that is the queen.” Both Michelle and Barack Obama met the queen. But as Roll Call reports, the first lady caused something of a scandal when she engaged in a half hug initiated by the queen.
The publication explains, “It was a major break with protocol, which has long mandated that no one is to touch Her Royal Highness. And even though reports say Elizabeth initiated the embrace, the first lady received ample criticism on both sides of the Atlantic for returning the gesture.”
Next: This is the one recent president whom Queen Elizabeth II never met.
13. Lyndon B. Johnson was the one president Queen Elizabeth II never met
- In office: 1963 to 1969
As the White House Historical Association explains, Queen Elizabeth II never met Lyndon B. Johnson during his presidency. While the two would likely have met had the queen attended John F. Kennedy’s funeral, she was unable to go to the event because she was pregnant with Prince Edward.
However, as Newsweek notes, “the queen wasn’t used to seeing such a public display of grief” as happened after Kennedy’s assassination. “It inspired a period of mourning at the palace,” the publication notes. The queen “decreed that the bell in Westminster Abbey should ring for Jack Kennedy as it had for late members of the royal family.”
Next: Donald Trump might not meet the queen.
14. Donald Trump might or might not meet the queen
- In office: 2017 to present
W Magazine reported late in 2017 that Donald Trump wouldn’t be meeting Queen Elizabeth II anytime soon. The president’s visit to the United Kingdom had been downgraded from a state visit to a working trip — more on that in the coming pages — which “means there won’t be much pomp and circumstance when Trump visits the United Kingdom.”
The change also implied that Trump won’t automatically meet the queen when he visits. A state visit would have necessitated a visit between Trump and the queen. And the president would traditionally sleep at Buckingham Palace — and would also mean that the British government would have to pay for the visit.
Next: Queen Elizabeth II might not honor Trump with this gesture, either.
15. Queen Elizabeth II may not knight Donald Trump, either
Another open question? Whether Donald Trump will receive an honorary knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II. ABC News reports that only Republican presidents have received that honor — and only a few of them have made the cut.
The Associated Press reported in 1993 George H.W. Bush joined the ranks of that select group of presidents, which also includes Dwight D. Eisenhower and Ronald Reagan.
Next: Donald Trump has already canceled a trip to London.
16. Trump has already canceled one trip to London
Town & Country reported early in 2018 that Donald Trump canceled a trip to the United Kingdom, citing the American embassy’s move from one London property to another. The trip had already reportedly been downgraded from a full state visit to simply a “working trip.”
The visit was initially announced in January 2017, when prime minister Theresa May extended an invitation to Donald Trump from Queen Elizabeth II. Trump reportedly hoped to play golf with the queen, emulating the photogenic moments when Ronald Reagan went horseback riding with the queen.
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