All the Queen’s presidents: Biden will be 13th US leader to meet monarch | Joe Biden


When the Queen encounters Joe Biden at a reception on Friday she will have met the 13th US president of her long reign, having come face to face with every US commander-in-chief since Dwight Eisenhower – except Lyndon Johnson.

Biden previously met the Queen in 1982 when he was the Democratic senator for Delaware but this will be their first rendezvous since Biden beat Donald Trump to win the White House.

Biden, 78, is set to sip tea with the Queen, 95, on Sunday at Windsor Castle after the G7 summit in Cornwall, but they will both attend a reception on Friday, along with the Queen’s son and heir, Prince Charles, and his wife, Camilla, and Charles’s son Prince William and his wife, Kate.

She was a 25-year-old princess when she came to Washington in 1951 and stayed with the then US president, Harry Truman, and his family at Blair House in Washington DC, where Truman lived while the White House underwent a major renovation. She met Herbert Hoover in 1957, more than 20 years after he left office.

The Queen and Dwight Eisenhower in 1957. Photograph: Keystone/Getty Images

Her personal ties to US leaders lend gravitas and continuity to the US-UK relationship and put pressure on the president of the moment knowing that he is meeting a veteran of the world stage.

The Queen came of age during the second world war and understands the central role the transatlantic alliance has played in modern British history, said Robert Hardman, author of Queen of the World, which examines her role representing Britain in international circles.

“She grew up with that sort of sense of the USA as almost a sort of salvation that came along and rescued Europe in the darkest days of the war,” Hardman told the Associated Press.

Here are highlights of some of her meetings, on both sides of the pond, with past American presidents:

Donald Trump

Donald Trump and the Queen in 2018.
Donald Trump and the Queen in 2018. Photograph: Pablo Martínez Monsiváis/AP

Trump and the Queen met in July 2018 at Windsor Castle during a visit to Britain that drew large anti-Trump protests, including the hoisting of the infamous balloon depicting Trump as an oversized baby.

He was criticized for breaking protocol by briefly walking in front of the Queen – instead of alongside her – and turning his back on her as they reviewed an honor guard.

Barack Obama

The Queen and Prince Philip with Barack and Michelle Obama in 2016.
The Queen and Prince Philip with Barack and Michelle Obama in 2016. Photograph: WPA Pool/Getty Images

Obama and the Queen had their first of three meetings in April 2009 at a reception for world leaders attending the Group of 20 nations summit in London.

It was there that the then first lady, Michelle Obama, broke protocol by briefly putting an arm around the Queen’s back as they commiserated about their aching feet.

It’s generally a no-no to touch the Queen, but she returned the first lady’s gesture.
The Queen invited the Obamas to Buckingham Palace in 2011.

As Obama delivered a toast to the Queen at a banquet, he didn’t miss a beat when the band launched into God Save the Queen prematurely. He kept talking over the music until the band quieted down.

George W Bush

The Queen and Prince Philip with George W Bush and his wife, Laura, in 2007.
The Queen and Prince Philip with George W Bush and his wife, Laura, in 2007. Photograph: Anwar Hussein/WireImage

Bush detested formal affairs but donned white-tie-and-tails for a state dinner at Buckingham Palace in 2003.

Bush later slipped up when the Queen was at the White House in 2007, when he said she had helped the US “celebrate its bicentennial in 17-” Bush caught himself and corrected the date to 1976, and paused to see if she had taken offense.

“She gave me a look that only a mother could give a child,” Bush said. She later began a toast at the British Embassy in Washington: “I wondered whether I should start this toast by saying, ‘When I was here in 1776.’”

Bill Clinton

The Queen with Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton in 2000.
The Queen with Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton in 2000. Photograph: Tim Graham/Getty Images

The Queen hosted Bill and Hillary Clinton aboard Britain’s royal yacht, Britannia, in 1994. The Clintons spent one night onboard the boat. The next day, the Britannia ferried Bill Clinton to the USS George Washington aircraft carrier as it prepared to sail across the English Channel, from Portsmouth to Normandy, for D-Day anniversary celebrations.

George HW Bush

The Queen and George HW Bush in 1991.
The Queen and George HW Bush in 1991. Photograph: Tim Graham/Getty Images

One of the more memorable images from the monarch’s third state visit to the US came in 1991 when only her white-striped purple hat could be seen above the microphones when she spoke at an arrival ceremony on the White House grounds.

Someone forgot to adjust the lectern after the much taller Bush spoke and the Queen made light of the incident as she opened an address to a joint meeting of Congress.

“I do hope you can see me today from where you are,” she deadpanned. Bush later apologized and said he felt badly for not pulling out a step for her to stand on.

Ronald Reagan

The Queen rides through Windsor Home Park with Ronald Reagan in 1982.
The Queen rides through Windsor Home Park with Ronald Reagan in 1982. Photograph: Mauro Carraro/Rex Shutterstock

The actor and California rancher rode side by side with the Queen on an eight-mile horseback tour of the grounds of Windsor Castle in 1982.

Reagan was the first president to sleep over at this 11th-century royal estate overlooking the River Thames.

They planned to go riding together again at the Reagan ranch in Santa Barbara in 1983 but the weather scotched the plan.

Jimmy Carter

The Queen and Jimmy Carter in 1977.
The Queen and Jimmy Carter in 1977. Photograph: PA

The Queen hosted Carter in May 1977 on his first overseas trip at a dinner for Nato leaders at Buckingham Palace. Carter noticed the arrival of the Queen Mother and rushed to escort her to the assembled line of guests.

The Georgia peanut farmer-turned-president sat between the Queen and her sister, Princess Margaret, and across from Prince Charles, Prince Philip and the Queen Mother.

Gerald Ford

The Queen and Prince Philip with Gerald and Betty Ford in 1976.
The Queen and Prince Philip with Gerald and Betty Ford in 1976. Photograph: Anwar Hussein/Getty Images

Ford threw a gala state dinner for the Queen, in diamond tiara, in 1976 to mark the bicentennial of the American Revolution. The glittering gathering at the White House included diplomats, star athletes and celebrities such as Cary Grant and Julie Harris. But the celebratory mood was shattered when Ford led the Queen to the dance floor while the song The Lady Is a Tramp echoed throughout the state dining room.

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