The ‘Special Relationship’ – A History of Meetings Between British Monarchs and U.S. Presidents

GEORGE W. BUSH AND ELIZABETH II

George W. Bush with the Queen on the South Lawn of the White House, May 7, 2007. (Gerald Herbert/White House Images)

George W. Bush’s most famous moment with Queen Elizabeth is probably his Bicentennial gaffe during her 2007 royal visit to the White House (photo above) but the most historically important time he spent with the Queen might be the visit that he and First Lady Laura Bush made to Buckingham Palace as overnight guests in 2003.

“The only other American leader to be entertained on the same scale at Buckingham Palace over several days was Woodrow Wilson in December 1918,” writes Sally Bedell Smith – a comparison that Bush himself pointed out at the time.

Still, because of the massive unpopularity of the war in Iraq, the trip had to be even more elaborately stage managed than usual in order to avoid public antiwar demonstrations.

“She was unruffled by the protests,” George Bush told Smith about the Queen. “She had seen a lot during her life, and it didn’t seem to faze her.”

Bush’s 2007 gaffe/wink combination during Elizabeth’s trip to Washington didn’t seem to faze her either.

On the White House Lawn, Bush started to thank the Queen for helping to celebrate the Bicentennial in 1776, rather than in 1976, thereby adding two centuries to Elizabeth’s age. He froze, looked at Her Majesty for a moment – winked at her – and then said, “She gave me a look that only a mother could give a child.”

NEXT: Barack Obama and Elizabeth II

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