World

The queen and the 13 presidents

President Biden and first lady Jill Biden met Queen Elizabeth II for tea at Windsor Castle on Sunday, concluding the U.K. leg of their first overseas presidential trip. The monarch greeted the Bidens in the castle’s quadrangle. Soldiers gave a royal salute followed by the American national anthem.

Over the past seven decades, the queen has met every president — except Lyndon B. Johnson — in venues ranging from Balmoral Castle to baseball stadiums.

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She met her first president, Harry S. Truman, in 1951 when she was 25 years old and still a princess. Most recently, she hosted Donald Trump, one of three U.S. presidents to be given an official state visit, and the only one to prompt a viral video by walking in front of the monarch. But it was hardly the only memorable moment.

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Here are some highlights (unmute for sound).

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Donald Trump

“Did Donald Trump just WALK IN FRONT OF THE QUEEN?” Yes, he did, and it was a moment that many Britons will never forget. The presidential eclipse happened as the pair walked through the grounds of Windsor Castle in July 2018 as part of Trump’s widely protested working visit to Britain.

Trump walked ahead of the monarch, who could be seen trailing behind.

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TWP

Barack Obama

Barack Obama was accused of breaking royal protocol when, during a 2011 state visit, he bungled a toast to the queen by speaking over the British national anthem. First lady Michelle Obama also found herself under scrutiny on a separate occasion when she placed her arm around the queen’s shoulder. In her memoir, “Becoming,” Michelle said she later learned that touching the queen was “an epic faux pas.” But, she added, the queen didn’t seem too displeased. “I daresay that the queen was okay with it, too,” Michelle wrote, “because when I touched her, she only pulled closer, resting a gloved hand lightly on the small of my back.”

TWP

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The Washington Post

George W. Bush

During the queen’s trip to Washington in 2007, George W. Bush fumbled a line, accidentally aging the queen by 200 years. In his welcoming remarks in front of thousands of guests on the South Lawn, Bush referred to the queen’s previous visit to the United States to celebrate America’s bicentennial as being in 1776, when he actually meant 1976.

The Washington Post

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The Washington Post

Bill Clinton

President Bill Clinton and first lady Hillary Clinton met with the queen as part of a three-day visit to Ireland, Northern Ireland and England in December 2000. Their daughter, Chelsea, was also in attendance. The family visited Buckingham Palace, where they posed for photos next to the monarch, who was wearing a festive red ensemble and signature pearls for the occasion.

The Washington Post

President Bill Clinton talks with Queen Elizabeth II along with Hillary Clinton and Chelsea Clinton at Buckingham Palace in London in 2000.

Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images

Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images

George H.W. Bush

41st President George H.W. Bush and first lady Barbara Bush met with the queen and husband Prince Philip for a tour of Buckingham Palace in June, 1989. The four were photographed smiling as they walked with the queen leading the way. Two years later, the monarch visited Washington, where she planted a tree at the White House. Paying tribute after Bush’s death in 2018, the queen described him as “a great friend and ally of the United Kingdom.”

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President George H.W. Bush and Barbara Bush pose with Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip at Buckingham Palace in London in 1989.

Doug Mills/AP

Doug Mills/AP

Ronald Reagan

In 1982, Ronald and Nancy Reagan stayed overnight at Windsor Castle — the first presidential couple to do so. During their stay, Reagan and the queen, who both love horses, went riding together, while Nancy and Prince Philip went for a carriage ride. The following year, the Reagans hosted the queen and Philip at their hilltop ranch near Santa Barbara, Calif. After Reagan left office, the queen conferred on him an honorary knighthood, the highest honor Britain gives to foreigners.

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The Washington Post

Jimmy Carter

The queen hosted President Jimmy Carter and other NATO leaders during a dinner at Buckingham Palace in 1977. Much ado was made about the moment when Carter greeted the Queen Mother — and reportedly kissed her on the lips. The Queen Mum was said to have written about the incident: “I took a sharp step backwards. Not quite far enough.” Carter, however, recounted it differently. He wrote that he kissed her lightly on the cheek and that the British press “grossly distorted this event.”

The Washington Post

President Jimmy Carter speaks with Queen Elizabeth II and the Queen Mother at Buckingham Palace in London in 1977. (PA Images/Getty Images)

Gerald Ford

38th President Gerald Ford and first lady Betty Ford hosted the queen at a state dinner at the White House in 1976, a gathering that celebrated the special relationship between the United States and Britain. The president danced with the queen, who wore long white gloves and put on a dazzling display of diamonds. Recalling the event in her memoir, the former first lady admitted she found royal protocol slightly challenging. “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,” she wrote.

Gerald Ford dances with Queen Elizabeth II at the White House in 1976.

Universal Images Group/Getty Images

Universal Images Group/Getty Images

Richard M. Nixon

In February 1969, Richard and Pat Nixon met the queen at Buckingham Palace along with Prince Philip and heir-to-the-throne Prince Charles. Before he became president, Nixon had met the queen in 1957 when he had escorted her and Philip during their U.S. visit. Nixon was vice president at the time.

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Queen Elizabeth II talks with President Richard M. Nixon at Buckingham Palace in London in 1969.

Laurence Harris/AP

Laurence Harris/AP

John F. Kennedy

Just months into his presidency, John F. Kennedy and first lady Jackie Kennedy — “America’s royal family” — dined with Britain’s royal family at Buckingham Palace, a scene that was dramatized in Netflix’s “The Crown.” While it’s impossible to know what really happened in that encounter, according to biographers, there was indeed some real-life tension, with conflicts over whom to include on the guest list.

Laurence Harris/AP

Prince Philip, left, Jacqueline Kennedy and Queen Elizabeth with President John F. Kennedy at Buckingham Palace in London in 1961.

AP

AP

Dwight D. Eisenhower

The queen has made four state visits to the United States during her reign. The first one was in 1957 when Eisenhower was in office. Two years later, the queen would host the Eisenhowers at Balmoral Castle in Scotland, where the president presumably complimented her drop scones or Scotch pancakes. In a handwritten letter to the president, she wrote: “Seeing a picture of you in today’s newspaper standing in front of a barbecue grilling quail, reminded me that I had never sent you the recipe of the drop scones which I promised you at Balmoral. I now hasten to do so,” she said.

AP

President Dwight D. Eisenhower, center, meets with the British royal family at Balmoral Castle in Scotland in 1959.

AP

AP

Harry S. Truman

Before she became queen, a 25-year-old Princess Elizabeth met with Harry S. Truman and his wife Bess on a visit to Washington in October 1951 on behalf of her father King George VI, who was ill and unable to travel. The young princess was accompanied by husband Prince Philip, with the president referring to them fondly as a “wonderful young couple” who had “captured the hearts of all of us.”

AP

From left, Prince Philip, Margaret Truman, Bess Truman, Princess Elizabeth and President Harry S. Truman in 1951.

AP

AP