Later today, American President Donald Trump will arrive in the United Kingdom at the start of his 3-day State Visit, during which he will be hosted by the Queen and members of the Royal Family. The United Kingdom and the United States have had a ‘Special Relationship’ since the end of the Second World War, and the Queen’s visits and meetings with all the American Presidents have been instrumental in that relationship. So ahead of the start of the visit, we are taking a look at the American State Visits to Britain and the British Royal Visits to the United States.
(Note- I will be on a flight during the State Banquet portion, so the article on the visit may come out a few hours late)
On of the first major high profile royal visits to America was the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII)’s 1860 Tour, when he was feted across the Nation during the extensive visit to North America that lasted almost 5 months.
In 1939, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth became the first reigning British Monarchs to visit the United States, during their Tour of Canada. The five day trip included visits to Mount Vernon, the New York World’s Fair, Dinner at the President’s estate at Hyde Park, where they were served hotdogs, smoked turkey, and strawberry shortcake (fictionalized in the film Hyde Park on Hudson) and a Garden Party at the British Embassy. A strong bond was forged between the King and Queen and the President and First Lady during the tour, which had major significance in the relations between the United States and the United Kingdom during the War. More HERE.
In 1951, the then Princess Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh were hosted by President Truman for the American leg of their Tour of North America.
After her accession to the Throne, the Queen’s first State Visit to the United States was in 1957, after a Tour of Canada, when she was hosted by President Eisenhower and visited New York City, Washington, D.C., and Williamsburg, Virginia for the 400th Anniversary of the founding of the Jamestown Colony. The Queen visited the US for a short visit in 1959, to attend the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway as Queen of Canada, receiving President Eisenhower at Balmoral that summer. More HERE.
In 1961, the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh hosted a Dinner in honour of the Official Visit of President John F Kennedy and First Lady Jackie Kennedy at Buckingham Palace, though since it wasn’t a State Visit, this was the Queen’s only meeting. The Queen also hosted Mrs Kennedy for lunch during a subsequent private visit and attended the unveiling of his memorial in Britain after his assassination.
In 1969, President Nixon had lunch with the Queen, Duke of Edinburgh, Prince of Wales, and Princess Anne at Buckingham Palace, which was broadcast in the famous 1969 ‘Royal Family’ documentary.
The Queen’s next State Visit to the United States came in 1976, to mark the bicentenary of American Independence, being hosted by President Ford and visiting Philadelphia, Washington, New York City, New Haven, Charlottesville, Providence, Boston, with highlights including a State Dinner at the White House and a Return Banquet at the British Embassy.
The following year, President Carter was hosted by the Royal Family, at a dinner for NATO leaders during the 1977 London summit, at which he apparently kissed the Queen Mother on the lips.
In 1982, the Queen and Duke hosted President and Mrs Reagan for an Official Visit, which included a State Banquet at Windsor Castle and a ride with the Queen and President through Windsor Great Park.
In return, the Queen and Duke next paid a Official Visit to the United States in 1983, visiting the West Coast cities of San Diego, Palm Springs, Los Angeles, Sierra Madre, Duarte, Santa Barbara, San Francisco, Sacramento, Stanford, Palo Alto, Yosemite, Portland, Seattle, hosted by President and Mrs Reagan at their private ranch. More HERE and HERE.
The Prince and Princess of Wales visited the United State on an Official Tour in 1985, after a visit to Australia and Fiji, where highlights included a State Dinner at the White House, a Banquet at the British Embassy, and a visit to Florida. More HERE.
In 1991, the Queen and Duke were hosted by President George H. W. Bush as they visited Washington, Arlington, Baltimore, Miami, Austin, San Antonio, Dallas, Houston, and Saint Louis on their visit, which was featured in the documentary ‘Elizabeth R.’
President Bill Clinton and First Lady Hilary Clinton had lunch with the Queen at Buckingham Palace during a visit in 2000.
The first American State Visit (the previous ones were only Official Visits) that the Queen hosted was in 2003, when she received President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush at Buckingham Palace, which included a glittering Banquet.
The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall conducted a week-long Official Tour of the United States in 2005, their first trip after their marriage, with events including a visit to Ground Zero, stops in New Orleans, San Francisco, abd Dinner at the White House hosted by President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush.
The Queen’s last State Visit to the United States came in 2007, exactly 50 years after her first, when she visited Washington, Richmond, Jamestown, Williamsburg, Lexington, and Louisville, to mark the 450th Anniversary of the founding of the Jamestown Colony.
In 2011, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited the West Coat of the United States on their first official tour after their marriage, meeting the President a few weeks later, and going to New York City in 2014, for another short official trip.
Later that year, the Queen and Duke welcomed President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama on their State Visit to the United Kingdom, which included a State Banquet and a Return Dinner at the American Ambassador’s Residence. President and Mrs Obama visited Britain again in 2016, where they had tea with the Queen and dinner with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry at Kensington Palace.
President Trump met with the Queen at Windsor Castle during his Official Visit to the United Kingdom last year, reviewing the guard and having tea. UPDATE- The Queen hosted President and First Lady Melania Trump on their State Visit to the UK in 2019 and the NATO 70th Anniversary Reception at Buckingham Palace.