America responded to Thursday’s death of Queen Elizabeth II with an outpouring of respect for Britain’s longest-serving monarch, and gratitude for her continual efforts to strengthen the U.S.-British alliance.
President Biden praised her as a “stateswoman of unmatched dignity” who “was more than a monarch. She defined an era.”
Though the two men agree on little else, former President Donald Trump spoke similarly.
“What a grand and beautiful lady she was — there was nobody like her!” said former President Donald Trump, who met the queen at Windsor Castle in July 2018. “She will always be remembered for her faithfulness to her country and her unwavering devotion to her fellow countrymen and women.”
Former President Barack Obama, one of 14 U.S. presidents to meet with Elizabeth, said she “captivated the world” with the example of her reign that began in 1952 when she was 25.
“She listened deeply, thought strategically, and was responsible for considerable diplomatic achievements,” Mr. Obama said. “Time and again, we were struck by her warmth, the way she put people at ease, and how she brought her considerable humor and charm to moments of great pomp and circumstance.”
Mr. Biden said the late queen was instrumental to the “bedrock Alliance” between the U.S. and Britain, and he pledged that the relationship would continue under King Charles III.
“The thoughts and prayers of people all across the United States are with the people of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth in their grief,” Mr. Biden said. “We send our deepest condolences to the Royal Family, who are not only mourning their Queen, but their dear mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother.”
At the British embassy in Washington, mourners placed flowers in honor of the 96-year-old monarch.
District resident Sharon Hubley said the queen “really showed you what duty is all about, and steadfastness.”
“She was a great lady,” she told DCist.com.
Elizabeth visited the U.S. six times, beginning in 1951 when she had not yet ascended the throne. A lover of horses, she rode horseback with President Reagan at his California ranch in 1983.
Former columnist Ken Herman of the Austin American-Statesman recalled meeting the queen on her visit to Texas in 1991 during the presidency of Republican George H.W. Bush.
“We talked about baseball, perhaps making me among the few who ever talked to a British monarch about baseball,” he tweeted Thursday. “She was most gracious.”
During her visit to Texas, the queen also told a joke about the Lone Star state: “If a man’s from Texas, he’ll tell you. If he’s not, why embarrass him by asking him?”
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott called Elizabeth “one of the greatest leaders in history.” He said she was more than a leader of one of the world’s great democracies.
“She was a mother, a grandmother, and a wife who showed a deep devotion to her family and to her nation. The entire world is better to have had a strong, steady leader like Queen Elizabeth II, and we are forever honored to have had her as an ally to the United States and to Texas,” Mr. Abbott said.
Virginia also laid claim to part of a “special relationship” with the Queen. She visited the state at least four times, the last in 2007 to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the English settlement in Jamestown, its first in North America.
“Throughout her reign, she showed steadfast compassion towards the United States during trying times, especially following the September 11th attacks,” said Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin.
Among other things in the wake of Sept. 11, the queen broke nearly 600 years of precedent by having a foreign national anthem played during the Changing of the Guard.
“As governor, the queen’s consistent tenderness for the Commonwealth and Virginians will never be forgotten,” Mr. Youngkin said.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican, seemed to compare the queen with recent U.S. political figures as he praised her steady leadership and modesty.
“Despite spending nearly three-quarters of a century as one of the most famous and admired individuals on the planet, the queen made sure her reign was never really about herself — not her fame, not her feelings, not her personal wants or needs,” Mr. McConnell said.
“She guided venerable institutions through modern times using timeless virtues like duty, dignity, and sacrifice. She offered our contemporary world a living master class it needed badly.”
Sen. Bob Menendez, New Jersey Democrat and Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman, recalled the queen’s visits to Washington for America’s bicentennial in 1976, and to deliver an address to a joint session of Congress in 1991.
“Her meaningful engagement with American leaders from President Truman to President Biden and her commitment to our countries’ special relationship greatly contributed to the enduring friendship between our nations,” he said.