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Long Live the Queen!


picture of Queen Elizabeth - Time's 1952 Woman of the Year

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.

picture of Queen Elizabeth with the Obamas

Here is a picture of Queen Elizabeth with George and Laura Bush at the White House.

picture of Queen Elizabeth with George and Laura Bush

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.

picture of Queen Elizabeth with the Clintons

Here is a picture of Queen Elizabeth with George H. W. Bush.

picture of Queen Elizabeth with George H. W. Bush

Here is a neat picture of the queen and Ronald Reagan riding horses together.

picture of Queen Elizabeth with Ronald Reagan

Below is a picture of Queen Elizabeth with Jimmy Carter.

picture of Queen Elizabeth with Jimmy Carter

Here is a picture of the queen dancing with Gerald Ford.

picture of Queen Elizabeth with Gerald Ford

Here is the queen with Richard Nixon.

picture of Queen Elizabeth 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.

picture of Queen Elizabeth with JFK

Below is a picture of Queen Elizabeth with Ike — Dwight Eisenhower. (We're back into my elementary school days with this one!)

picture of Queen Elizabeth with Ike

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.

picture of Queen Elizabeth with Hoover

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!

picture of Queen Elizabeth with Truman

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.

picture of King George and FDR

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....'"

picture of Queen Elizabeth II

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.

quotation...

"In an age that idolizes novelty, we must not despise history." - Eric Newton

=^..^= =^..^=
Rob

All I ask is that you treat me no differently than you would the Queen of England.


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13 Comments on “Long Live the Queen!”

  1. #1 b.j.
    on Feb 15th, 2010 at 12:01 pm

    There was a lot of controversy around the Obama’s visit to the Queen. One was about Michele Obama putting her hand on the queen’s back. I guess it is taboo to touch the queen. I told my husband about it, and he was shocked, saying “oh yeah, when D– (his step dad) met the queen, he was told not to touch her, and there were people there to make sure he didn’t. I wonder why they didn’t warn the Obamas?” Meanwhile, a record player screech to a halt sound goes off in my head, at which point I say “What?! He met the queen? what for?” and Hubby says “I don’t remember, something about horse eventing, maybe about when he was invited to the Olympics” where another screeching halt goes off in my brain and I say “Invited to the Olympics? I thought you had to pay big bucks to get tickets to the Olympics.” where hubby then says “No, he was supposed to be IN the Olympics. He was the substitute if the other guy got hurt or couldn’t do it.” Where at this point I give up, because what else am I about to find out, his grandpa helped land on the moon or something?

    Funny how some things take so long to just pop up in conversation, and so nonchalantly too! Wonder what else I’m going to find out in our years together….

  2. #2 marianne mckillop
    on Feb 15th, 2010 at 12:47 pm

    I thought the same thing of the Obama trip but HM QE II had put her hand on Michelle’s back apparently. I was aghast at first.

    Yes she is my Queen, being born in Jamaica to Canadian parents. She came to our elementary school in Montego Bay and we sang to her, “Carry me Ackee go to Linstead Market,” I even remember the song. It was St James Prep School associated with the Anglican church there. Dad took some great pictures. Long live the Queen.

  3. #3 A.H.
    on Feb 15th, 2010 at 6:14 pm

    When I was beginning to read, I received a 1971 Canadian penny with Queen Elizabeth’s profile as a “prize.” I always wanted to look like that profile.

  4. #4 Rob
    on Feb 15th, 2010 at 7:14 pm

    @b.j. – I was cracking up at your story about your step-father-in-law’s claims to fame, that your husband found not newsworthy to share with you until now. :-D From what I can find online, it all started when Queen Elizabeth told the first lady she hoped they could stay in touch. The queen actually touched Michelle on the back first as they stood and talked. Michelle in return gave the Queen a back pat. Touching the Queen of England is definitely a protocol no-no. I’m sure the queen, as gracious a hostess as she is, was able to roll with it and not cause an international scandal.

    @Marianne – That’s a neat story about her visit to your school in Jamaica. What a great remembrance to take through life and to be able to relate to your descendants.

    @A.H. – I’ve seen Canadian pennies … we often got them as change in Ohio and Michigan. It is a striking profile.

  5. #5 Karen M.
    on Feb 15th, 2010 at 8:20 pm

    Rob,
    What a wonderful tribute to the Queen and to our presidents! Currently I’m reading David McCullough’s John Adams which recounts the 11+ year struggle to free ourselves from England and the Monarch of that day, King George. I found it interesting that no king or queen had set foot on American soil for so many years. Thanks for the walk down memory lane!
    Karen

  6. #6 Sue
    on Feb 15th, 2010 at 9:45 pm

    Wow, these are great pictures. I particularly like the one with President Reagan.
    Thank you for putting this post together, I’m sure the compiling took some time.

  7. #7 Susan
    on Feb 15th, 2010 at 9:59 pm

    I enjoy reading anything about the Queen and her late mother. My husband and I are American transplants to Canada. I was shocked at first to find that Her Majesty is still considered the queen of Canada, although Canada was granted its independence in 1867. Being steeped in American history, my first thought was, “If you’re independent of Britain, she’s not your queen anymore.” But apparently Canadians don’t feel that way, I suppose because they didn’t fight for their independence! It’s also a bit confusing to hear ‘My Country Tis of Thee’ played at official Canadian events (including the Opening Ceremony of the Olympics when the Governor General arrived!) – until you get over being American and realize it’s ‘God Save the Queen.’ ;)

    I very much admire the Queen, especially the grace she shows when visiting First Ladies breach protocol! LOL

  8. #8 Carrie
    on Feb 16th, 2010 at 12:00 am

    I love this post too! The royal family has an official website: http://www.royal.gov.uk There is lots of neat stuff there. My kids and I watched part of the coronation movie. Very impressive. I wonder what the next one will be like, whether people will wait in the rainy street overnight to see the procession. My daughter’s name is Elizabeth, so we love her especially. Such a lovely lady. On her 80th birthday she invited 80 people who shared her birthday to her party!

  9. #9 Marilyn
    on Feb 16th, 2010 at 4:59 am

    Say, Rob, I think that the photo of Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Phillip and the Kennedys was the same one featured on the Weekly Reader front page back when we were in grade school.

  10. #10 Rob
    on Feb 16th, 2010 at 7:03 am

    @Karen – I’m glad you enjoyed the post. The American Revolutionary period is definitely an interesting time in history. I’m glad we were eventually able to become allies with England again and continue to be.

    @Sue – I really liked the picture of Reagan and the queen too. I found a closer shot in black and white. A picture you usually see of the queen and Reagan is with her speaking and his laughing his head off. That’s also a neat image – he was definitely a neat person.

    @Susan – Thanks for the interesting perspective of an American transplanted into Canada. I think people mistakenly think that our two cultures are more similar than they actually are. Very different perspectives on many things. Then factor in the Québecois viewpoint also, and you have something altogether different.

    @Carrie – Glad you enjoyed the post. Thanks for the link. I’ve had students through the years who were great fans of the royals. It is fascinating that the royalty still exists in tandem with the various forms of governance in the British Commonwealth.

    @Marilyn – Weekly Reader? What in the world are you talking about?! (Says Rob in utter denial….)

  11. #11 Gaye Wynn
    on Feb 16th, 2010 at 7:15 am

    As a certified Anglophile, I loved this post! England has had some remarkable queens and the top two in my opinion have shared the same name! There’s a lovely poem by Robert Graves called “Coronation Address” that captures the spirit of serving a queen.

  12. #12 Rob
    on Feb 17th, 2010 at 5:18 pm

    @Gaye – How does one become a “certified Anglophile?” I know I’m “certifiable,” but I don’t know if it would apply to what you’re talking about. :-D

  13. #13 Susan
    on Feb 18th, 2010 at 1:32 pm

    Canada is indeed a very different culture than the US. Just try to come and live here without changing any of your American mindset! ;) And the Quebecois?! Oh, dear. There’s an entire political party just for them.

    By the way, I am originally from Greenville, SC. My family attended Tabernacle Baptist Church, and my husband and I married there. Uncle Sam moved us to several states via the US Air Force. We landed in Texas for 14 years, and from there God called us to Canada. One reason I enjoy your blog so much is I know the area where you live; it’s like hearing from “home” a few times a week!


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