Happy Presidents' Day! It might seem strange to give the title "Long Live the Queen!" to a Presidents' Day blog post and to start off with a picture of Queen Elizabeth II of England, but I think my doing so will make more sense to you as you read the post. Many people know the expressions, "God Save the King!" or more recently "God Save the Queen!" He seems to have done just that with Queen Elizabeth II.
In February 1952, at the age of 25, Elizabeth ascended the throne to become the queen. Time magazine named her its Woman of the Year for 1952. That was a long time ago, and that young queen is now in her eighties. I hope this post of pictures with little commentary will document at least one aspect of her 58 years as queen, so far.
For Presidents' Day 2010 I would like to do a tribute to the presidents through the eyes of Queen Elizabeth II.
Below is a picture of Queen Elizabeth with Barack and Michelle Obama at Buckingham Palace on 1 April 2009.
Here is a picture of Queen Elizabeth with George and Laura Bush at the White House.
Next is a picture of the Clinton family with the queen. The expression on her face makes me wonder what she's thinking ... or what he's saying.
Here is a picture of Queen Elizabeth with George H. W. Bush.
Here is a neat picture of the queen and Ronald Reagan riding horses together.
Below is a picture of Queen Elizabeth with Jimmy Carter.
Here is a picture of the queen dancing with Gerald Ford.
Here is the queen with Richard Nixon.
As odd as it may seem, the queen never met Lyndon Johnson in person. She would have met LBJ at JFK's funeral, but she was expecting at the time and didn't make the trip.
Here she is with the Kennedys.
Below is a picture of Queen Elizabeth with Ike — Dwight Eisenhower. (We're back into my elementary school days with this one!)
There were several instances of her meeting with US presidents when either they were no longer president or she was not yet queen.
Below is a picture of the queen with former president Herbert Hoover at a luncheon at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York on 1 October 1957. She had been Queen Elizabeth II for 5 years by then, and it had been over 24 years since the end of his presidency.
Here is a picture of a meeting with Harry Truman when Elizabeth was still Princess Elizabeth in October 1951 — the month after I was born. Wow! We're going back in time!
Although Elizabeth was not along on the trip, her parents visited the USA in 1939. The meeting between her father and FDR was historic — George VI had been king for only a little more than two years, and no reigning British monarch had ever set foot on American soil, not even in colonial times. Here's a picture of King George VI and FDR from that visit.
There have been 12 presidents of the United States since the Queen Elizabeth II ascended to the throne, 6 February 1952:
1. Harry S Truman
2. Dwight David (Ike) Eisenhower
3. John Fitzgerald Kennedy
4. Lyndon Baines Johnson
5. Richard Milhouse Nixon
6. Gerald Rudolph Ford
7. James Earl Carter
8. Ronald Wilson Reagan
9. George Herbert Walker Bush
10. William Jefferson (Blythe III) Clinton
11. George Walker Bush
12. Barack Hussein Obama
Her reign has coincided with 12 presidencies, yet her life has coincided with the lives of 16 presidents. The four who were president before her ascendancy were William Howard Taft, John Calvin Coolidge Jr., Herbert Clark Hoover, and Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Of those four, she met only Hoover (see above). Taft had been an ex-president for 13 years when Elizabeth was born in 1926, and he died before she was age 4. After Taft's presidency two presidents died before Elizabeth was born — Thomas Woodrow Wilson died in 1924 and Warren Gamaliel Harding died in 1923. As mentioned earlier, the only sitting president she never met during her reign was Lyndon Johnson.
To say that Queen Elizabeth has had a long reign would be an understatement. Below is a short video clip where George W. Bush makes a slip that majorly overstates the length of her reign.
I wonder if she was thinking, "We are not amused!" Actually the queen teased GWB about this when, at a banquet at the end of her US visit, she said, "I wondered whether I should start by saying, 'When I was here in 1776....'"
In 2012, she will celebrate her Diamond Jubilee, as did her great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria. May the year 2012 give Queen Elizabeth II the promise of meeting yet another President of the United States! I hope the American voters do not deprive her of that pleasure — it would be a pity to make Her Majesty wait until 2016.
I look forward to the comments on this post. I know there are readers for whom Queen Elizabeth II is "my queen" and some history buffs as well.
"In an age that idolizes novelty, we must not despise history." - Eric Newton
All I ask is that you treat me no differently than you would the Queen of England.
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