Anglophenia has been generally oblivious to the Queen’s visit to the United States. It’s not that I have anything against her – hey, I think she’s an ace bird – but my Anglophilia has never extended to the monarchy. Still, her summit with our beleaguered commander-in-chief produced some classic moments, including the most publicized wink since the Britain-Portugal World Cup match. After Bush’s gaffe suggesting that HRH was a contemporary of Benjamin Franklin (watch it here), the Queen had an opportunity to flash some unexpected wit. At a black-tie dinner to conclude her trip, the Queen joked, “I wondered whether I should start this toast by saying, ‘When I was here in 1776…’, but I don’t think I will.”
Royal biographer Philip Ziegler uses this opportunity for a monarchist suck-up in The Daily Telegraph:
Even the least monarchically minded Briton must look with satisfaction at the press coverage of the Queen’s visit to the United States. At every appearance, as is her way, she has contrived to look traditional yet stylish whilst being reassuringly immune to the vagaries of fashion.
But one image above the rest says it all. President Bush, in a welcoming speech as the Queen began the Washington stage of her trip, made a silly slip of the tongue, misdating America’s bicentennial, thus making the Queen something over 200 years old.
The Queen looked across at him with a look of quizzical surprise, showing the sense of humour which in private is one of her most endearing qualities.
Recovering with considerable grace, Bush told the Queen: “You gave me a look only a mother could give a child.” It was a perceptive remark. The Queen has achieved the status of honorary mother – or even grandmother – to the nation.
Give me a break. How hard is it to look classy alongside a boorish international laughingstock with one of the lowest presidential approval ratings in modern times? Yeah, that’s aiming high.Read More