With the furore of the US Presidential Election reaching its peak, it is timely that we should consider The Queen’s relationship with the United States, and especially with its presidents.
Her Majesty has reigned through the tenures of twelve US Presidents and is soon to pass her thirteenth!
In America, it is worth noting, that The Queen is the very embodiment of Great Britain. She is how the Americans see the British. Represented in the tenacious figure of The Queen, the UK is seen as a historically rich, culturally diverse, militarily loyal ally to the United States. This can quite clearly be seen by the sheer excitement displayed by the Americans whenever The Queen has visited or made a Christmas Broadcast.
In 1957, The Queen’s Christmas Broadcast received the largest praise from across the pond with The New York Times describing her as “unstrained and natural”. The Americans look to The Queen and see a stoical 90 year old still working as hard as she did when she came to the throne over 60 years ago; could they see any of their Presidents managing this longevity?
To the presidents, The Queen has been the UK’s ‘Department of Warmth and Friendship’. When the president has been politically at odds with Britain’s Prime Minister, The Queen has shown impartiality and kindness to the US Head of State, reminding him of the special relationship between Britain and America. The President of USA is more on an equal footing with The Queen than with a prime minister. As they are both Heads of State, they can be more at ease in each other’s company; they hold the same rank. When President Obama visited the UK in 2011, he stayed with The Queen, as an equal, in Buckingham Palace.
When Harold Macmillan was causing controversy in the US over the Suez Crisis, it was The Queen who restored Britain’s reputation and prestige.
The Queen and Prince Philip have enjoyed friendships with the American Presidents and First Ladies. When The Queen visited Ronald Reagan at his ranch in Santa Barbara, they planned to go riding. Unfortunately, the terrible weather put pay to that, but it still demonstrates that warmth that The Queen can generate in America. Through the Royal Family, the UK has maintained its close bond with the US. The Queen has helped to provide an unchanging human face for Britain in the US and a friendly figure to put presidents at ease. Whoever wins on Tuesday, The Queen will have seen it all before.