George W. Bush photo

Remarks at the Welcoming Ceremony for Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom

May 07, 2007

President Bush. Good morning. Laura and I are honored to welcome back to the White House Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and His Royal Highness Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh.

The United Kingdom has written many of the greatest chapters in the history of human freedom. Nearly 800 years ago, the Magna Carta placed the authority of the government under the rule of law. Eighty years later, the first representative assembly of the English people met to debate public policies. Over the centuries, Parliaments in Britain established principles that guide all modern democracies. And thinkers from Britain like Locke and Smith and Burke showed the world that freedom was the natural right of every man, woman, and child on Earth.

As liberty expanded in the British Isles, British explorers helped spread liberty to many lands, including our own. In May of 1607, a group of pioneers arrived on the shores of the James River and founded the first permanent English settlement in North America. The settlers at Jamestown planted the seeds of freedom and democracy on American soil. And from those seeds sprung a nation that will always be proud to trace its roots back to our friends across the Atlantic.

Our two nations hold fundamental values in common. We honor our traditions and our shared history. We recognize that the strongest societies respect the rights and dignity of the individual. We understand and accept the burdens of global leadership. And we have built our special relationship on the surest foundations: our deep and abiding love of liberty.

Today, our two nations are defending liberty against tyranny and terror. We're resisting those who murder the innocent to advance a hateful ideology, whether they kill in New York or London or Kabul or Baghdad.

American and British forces are staying on the offense against the extremists and terrorists. We're supporting young democracies. Our work has been hard. The fruits of our work have been difficult for many to see. Yet our work remains the surest path to peace, and it reflects the values cherished by Americans and by Britons and by the vast majority of people across the broader Middle East.

Your Majesty, I appreciate your leadership during these times of danger and decision. You've spoken out against extremism and terror. You've encouraged religious tolerance and reconciliation. You have honored those returning from battle and comforted the families of the fallen.

The American people are proud to welcome Your Majesty back to the United States, a nation you've come to know very well. After all, you've dined with 10 U.S. Presidents. You helped our Nation celebrate its bicentennial in 17—in 1976. [Laughter]

Queen Elizabeth II. Come—[inaudible].

President Bush. She gave me a look that only a mother could give a child. [Laughter]

You have helped commemorate both the 350th and 400th anniversaries of the Jamestown settlement.

Your Majesty, the United States receives with honor the sovereign of the United Kingdom. We welcome back to the White House a good person, a strong leader for a great ally.

Queen Elizabeth II. Mr. President, thank you for your warm words. This is my fifth visit to the United States. And I believe it is important to remind ourselves of the purpose of these occasions, which gives meaning to the ceremonial symbolism and the circumstance.

A state visit provides us with a brief opportunity to step back from our current preoccupations to reflect on the very essence of our relationship. It gives us the chance to look back at how the stories of our two countries have been inextricably woven together. It is the moment to take stock of our present friendship, rightly taking pleasure from its strengths, while never taking these for granted. And it is the time to look forward, jointly renewing our commitment to a more prosperous, safer, and freer world.

Last week, I had the pleasure of sharing with you an extraordinary anniversary in our common history. It was a privilege to join the commemoration of the Jamestown landing by that small group of British citizens all those years ago. My 2 days in Virginia gave me a new insight into those events, which helped to shape this country's development and to lay the foundations of this great Nation based on shared principles of equality, democracy, and the rule of law.

And now in Washington, we have a further opportunity to acknowledge the present strength of our relationship. I shall enjoy not only renewing old acquaintances and making new ones but also recognizing the breadth and depth of the friendship we have shared for so long. We can celebrate the close and enduring associations which thrive between the United States and the United Kingdom at every level, be it government or corporate, institutional or personal.

This visit also gives us a window on the future, both the future of the United States and the future cooperation between our countries. I particularly look forward in the next 2 days to seeing at firsthand something of how the cutting edge of science and technology can take us to the next phases of discovery and exploration in human endeavor.

Mr. President, thank you for inviting Prince Philip and me to visit your country, to share in the commemoration of the Jamestown anniversary, and to have this opportunity to underline the extent of our friendship, past, present, and future. It is indeed a pleasure for us to be here in Washington again and to be welcomed back to the White House.

NOTE: The President spoke at 11:07 a.m. on the South Lawn at the White House where the Queen was accorded a formal welcome with full military honors.

George W. Bush, Remarks at the Welcoming Ceremony for Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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