“We mourn for all of you. She was a great lady,” Biden said of the queen, in the presence of Ambassador Karen Pierce, her husband and embassy staff. “I’m so delighted I got to meet her.”
In a lengthy statement earlier today, the Bidens hailed the late queen as a “stable presence” in a changing world. They said she led with “grace, an unwavering commitment to duty and the matchless power of her example”.
“Queen Elizabeth II was a stateswoman of unequaled dignity and steadfastness who deepened the fundamental alliance between the United Kingdom and the United States. She helped make our relationship special,” the Bidens said. in their statement, adding that the President looked forward to continuing a close relationship with King Charles and the Queen Consort. “We send our deepest condolences to the Royal Family, who not only mourn their Queen, but also their dear mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. His legacy will figure prominently in the pages of British history and in the history of our world.
The Queen, who died on Thursday after becoming the first British monarch to reign for 70 years, held the crown for almost 30% of US history. She ascended to the throne in 1952, leading the monarchy through 14 US presidencies and playing a key role in helping the UK’s relationship with the US.
She was hailed Thursday by members of both parties, former Republican and Democratic presidents and members of Congress. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said the Queen was a “historic friend” of the United States, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ordered the Capitol flags flown at half-mast. The House will pass a resolution of mourning in honor of the Queen.
“Let it be a comfort to his children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and the entire Royal Family that Americans join them in prayer at this sad time,” Pelosi said in a statement.
Biden also ordered flags to be flown over half-mast staff at the White House and federal buildings until the Queen’s funeral.
Her first visit to senior US leaders was with President Harry S. Truman, who welcomed her to Washington as a princess, along with Prince Philip, in 1951. Her last meeting with a US president was in 2021, when of the Bidens’ first overseas trip since winning the White House.
During her visit with Truman, she said that “free men around the world look to the United States with affection and with hope.”
Her first trip to Washington as queen was in 1957, after receiving an invitation from President Dwight Eisenhower. They wrote letters to each other for years and developed a friendship. The queen even sent her her recipe for scones.
Lyndon B. Johnson is the only US President who has not met the Queen – for reasons that are still unclear. The two corresponded from 1964 to 1967, including congratulatory letters for births, birthday wishes and also a message of condolence after the death of Winston Churchill.
In 1961, President John F. Kennedy and First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy attended a banquet at Buckingham Palace with the Queen and the Prince. Kennedy and the Queen exchanged letters until his death in 1963, and she established a memorial and scholarship fund in his honor.
President Richard Nixon and First Lady Patricia Nixon met the Queen and then British Prime Minister Edward Heath at Checkers, the Prime Minister’s country residence, in 1970. In 1976, the Queen and Prince attended a dinner State at the White House with President Gerald Ford and First Lady Betty Ford. The Queen danced with Ford at the White House Ball.
President Jimmy Carter visited the Queen at Buckingham Palace in 1977. “Her dignity, kindness and sense of duty were an inspiration, and we join the millions around the world in mourning a remarkable leader,” the former president and former first lady said. Rosalynn Carter said in a statement after her death.
She met several times with President Ronald Reagan and First Lady Nancy Reagan. The Queen reportedly had a good relationship with the Reagans and shared a love of horseback riding with the President.
She granted Reagan an honorary knighthood in 1989 for American aid to Britain in the Falklands War. The gesture is the highest honor the nation bestows on foreigners.
The Queen visited the White House in 1991, when she met President George HW Bush. Bush then took the Queen to her first baseball game, the Baltimore Orioles vs. Oakland Athletics. When Bush died in 2018, the Queen sent Prince Charles as a representative of the royal family to his funeral, and she released a statement calling him “a great friend and ally of the United Kingdom”.
President Bill Clinton, First Lady Hillary Clinton and their daughter, Chelsea, met the Queen at Buckingham Place in 2000. Clinton recounted his visits to Buckingham Palace in a Thursday statement from him and the former first lady, noting the “unwavering grace” of the Queen. , dignity and genuine concern for the welfare” of his people.
“Sunny or stormy, she was a source of stability, serenity and strength,” he said.
And in 2007, the Queen attended the State Dinner at the White House with President George W. Bush, who on Thursday called her “a woman of great intelligence, charm and wit.”
“Spending time at Buckingham Palace and having tea with Her Majesty – and her Corgis – are some of our fondest memories of the presidency,” Bush said in a statement from him and former first lady Laura Bush. “Queen Elizabeth ably led England through dark times with her faith in her people and her vision for a brighter future. Our world has benefited from her steadfast determination.
President Barack Obama and First Lady Michele Obama attended the State Banquet at Buckingham Place in 2011. During their first visit with the Queen, the Obamas presented her with an iPod containing photos and videos from her 2007 trip in the USA.
The Queen, during World War II, became the first woman to serve on active military duty, the Obamas said in their statement Thursday, writing that she “defied the odds and expectations placed on women of her generation.” . They spoke of her leadership through dark and prosperous times – “from the moon landing to the fall of the Berlin Wall, to the dawn of the digital age”, they said, “she served a beacon of hope and stability for the people of the UK and the world.
“Michelle and I were blessed to know Her Majesty, and she meant a lot to us. When we were just beginning to navigate life as President and First Lady, she welcomed us onto the world stage with open arms and extraordinary generosity,” the statement read. “Time and time again we were struck by her warmth, the way she put people at ease, and the way she brought her considerable humor and charm to moments of great pomp and circumstance.”
In 2019, President Donald Trump met the Queen at Buckingham Palace. In a statement Thursday, Trump and former first lady Melania Trump spoke about his diplomatic legacy in uniting countries around the world.
“However, she will always be remembered for her loyalty to her country and her unwavering devotion to her compatriots,” the statement read. “Melania and I will always cherish our time with the Queen and will never forget Her Majesty’s generous friendship, great wisdom and wonderful sense of humour. What a tall, beautiful lady she was – there was no one like her!
Her last visit with a US president was in June 2021, when she met the Bidens in Cornwall. It was the last time she spoke with the president, White House press secretary Karine-Jean Pierre said Thursday, and the White House has yet to say whether the president will travel for his service. .
Olivia Olander contributed to this report.
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