Poor Queen Elizabeth.
It must be burden for her to visit the US.
Not known for her frequent visits across the Pond, I am pretty sure that she would have loved to do something else – visiting Scotland or an Irish horse farm.
Laura Bush, who is a smart woman, bullied her husband into organizing the state visit including a white tie event.
She (LB, not the Queen) went on national television explaining the menu and other stuff in boring detail.
(If I am not invited, what do I care about the food that is going to be served?!)
Wearing bright red lipstick that made her look like a hungry vampire, the better half of the Bush unit introduced the cooks.
Good for them – free PR once you want to open your own restaurant. Doesn’t Laura watch the “Top Chef” reality show?
It sounded in my non-American ears that Laura Dear got speaking lessons from Condi – unfortunately her clear speaking style was spoiled by the heavy Texan accent.
She kept referring to “Her Maaaaajeesstyyyy” – I wonder if the Oxbridge English speaking Monarch minded too much.
Or may be she is used to it – and finds it refreshing after the mumbling English of her eldest son….
Queen Elizabeth didn’t have much of a choice – it was 400 years ago that the Brits founded Jamestown, which became the first permanent British colony in America.
(If this was a Good Thing, I leave to the judgment of my readers on both sides of the Pond).
Our Senior Citizen Royal duly embarked (oblesse oblige) on a 6-hour or so flight, to meet Bush Minor and other Colonials during her one-week visit.
She didn’t exactly accumulate a lot of frequent flyer miles to the States – it was only her fifth visit in 50 years.
I don’t blame her – visiting a nation that broke away from the Empire by throwing lots of perfectly good tea into the harbor, doesn’t deserve a lot of Royal Attention. Leave that to upstarts like Fergie (the disgraced ex of her second son, not the Black Eyed Peas singer whom she never met).
Being a royal, she must be against presidents out of principle; and the American ones are so colorful! I am sure that her horse riding experience with former Prez. Reagan is still engraved in her mind as does the “talking hat” incident under Bush Pater.
(Bush Senior forgot in 1991 to place a footstool for the Queen to stand on. She was therefore hidden from the crowd looked like a talking hat; not exactly a crowd pleaser).
Since she is rumored to be a betting women, I am pretty sure that she made a nice little bet with her husband on her way over to see how long Bush would last before putting his foot in his mouth again.
It took the Defender of the Free World about 14 minutes into the state arrival ceremony before committing his (first) faux pas.
In all honesty, that might be a personal record for Bush.
He addressed the Queen with “you've dined with 10 U.S. presidents. You helped our nation celebrate its bicentennial in seventeen s -- in nineteen seventy-six."
The Queen might not be a spring chicken, but she is for sure not over 200 years old!
When the crowd started to laugh, Bush looked at the Queen and winked.
The Queen reacted in her regal way by smiling politely.
She also said something that sounded like "some year," or "you're near" or even "oh, dear."
As journalist Dana Milbank of the Washington Post put it:
“At least he didn’t credit her with signing the Magna Carta.”
(No Mr. President, that’s NOT a really, really big golf cart!)
For Bush, this state visit must be a godsend.
Let face it – the Queen is not going to grill him on the War in Iraq, his approval rate, Hurricane Katrina and his alcohol problem.
For the Queen, there was one treat in the program: visiting the Kentucky Derby.
Being a huge race fan, she was for sure more comfortable talking to jockey Calvin Borel than to the Bush people.
(Borel was later invited at the last minute to attend the state dinner – so Queen E. had at least one partner to have an interesting conversation with).
According to a Buck House spokesperson, she took an extremely close interest in the horses, but didn't place any bets. Smart lady – the horses were for sure more entertaining (and better looking) than a lot of the state dinner guests, and winning a racing bet in the US might have triggered another Boston Tea Party….