Queen Elizabeth's reign featured enchiladas with Reagan, dancing with Ford

·2 min read

By Steve Holland

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The last American president to see Queen Elizabeth, Joe Biden, sat down with her over tea at Windsor Castle in June 2021, where they chatted about Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping.

"I don't think she'd be insulted, but she reminded me of my mother," a visibly delighted Biden told reporters later.

All told, the queen met 13 of the last 14 American presidents, all except Lyndon Johnson. She started with Harry Truman in 1951 when she was still a princess. Through all of them, her goal was to maintain strong relations with the United States, remembering how important the alliance was in World War Two.

"Administrations in your country, and governments in mine, may come and go. But talk we will, listen we have to, disagree from time to time we may, but united we must always remain," she said in a toast at the state dinner that President George W. Bush held for her at the White House in 2007.

The queen had long talks with Ronald Reagan, some on horseback, and ate enchiladas at his California ranch. She went to a Baltimore Orioles baseball game with George H.W. Bush. She sent Dwight Eisenhower a recipe for scones after he raved about those at Balmoral Castle.

Things did not always go smoothly. When no one lowered the microphone for her remarks in 1991 on the White House South Lawn during the elder Bush's presidency, her face was obscured by the microphone and her remarks became known as "the talking hat speech."

“I do hope you can see me today from where you are," she later said in a speech to a joint session of Congress.

Dancing with Gerald Ford in 1976, the band struck up the tune, "The Lady is a Tramp."

During that same visit, Ford and his wife, Betty Ford, were taking the queen up the elevator to the Yellow Oval Room. The elevator door opened and there stood the Fords' son, Jack.

Jack had his dress shirt undone and was holding his studs, Betty Ford recalled later to the Washington Post. He quickly disappeared.

"The queen said, 'Oh think nothing of it. I have one of those at home,'" Betty Ford said.

Reviewing an honor guard of troops at Buckingham Palace in 2018, the queen suddenly found that Donald Trump had stepped in front of her, breaching royal etiquette and prompting her to change course to get around him.

Characteristically, the queen waved her white gloved hand to indicate they should move forward, and kept on going.

(Reporting by Steve Holland; Editing by Heather Timmons and Lisa Shumaker)