Lyndon B. Johnson photo

Toasts of the President and Princess Margaret

November 17, 1965

Your Royal Highness, Lord Snowdon, ladies and gentlemen:

Mark Twain once said: "I have traveled more than anyone else, and I have noticed that even the angels speak English with an accent."

Tonight I know that is true. And I am confident that millions of my fellow Americans agree with what I have said, because they have seen and they have heard Your Royal Highness these past few days throughout America.

Your coming has been very good for us. You have reminded us that we are a young nation and a gay people who respond to the smile and the warmth of a young couple. You can tell a great deal about a man simply by knowing to whom he will give his heart-and a country by knowing who can claim hers. You have claimed our heart, and we are very proud to give it to you.

But you have done more.

Your travels throughout our land--in the company of a large number of the press-- have helped our balance of payments problem.

And you have given a new lift to my "See America First" campaign.

So I am very grateful to you in many ways and for many reasons.

Your countrymen should be grateful, too. Lord Nelson once said: "England expects every man to do his duty." And I say tonight, every woman, too. And you have done your duty while in America. You have represented well the people that you serve-with dignity and grace and spirit and joy. You have in fact proved that your fellow countryman, Mr. Thackeray, was wrong when he said that it is so "hard to make an Englishman acknowledge that he is happy."

I am personally very glad that you could be here on the evening that marks the beginning of my 32d year with the most wonderful woman in all the world.

You are somewhat younger than I, Lord Snowdon, and you have been married a few years less than I. And I trust that you will not be offended if I take this occasion to offer you a little senior advice. I have learned that only two things are necessary to keep one's wife happy.

First, let her think that she is having her way.

And second, let her have it.

That philosophy has worked very well for me--and, I might add, for Lady Bird, too.

Very seriously, my marriage has been like that described by Charlotte Bronte. "Alfred and I," she wrote, "intended to be married in this way almost from the first; we never meant to be spliced in the humdrum way." Lady Bird and I always intended to be married in this way--happily--and I wish the same for both of you.

I am told by my protocol people that this visit of yours is an "unofficial" visit. I can only wish that "official" visits, of which I am something of a veteran, would have such favorable results. Everywhere you have gone in the United States you have encountered an affectionate warmth of feeling and a very friendly interest on the part of the American people. This has been both a tribute to Your Royal Highness and to Lord Snowdon and, through you, it has been an expression of the affection of all the American people for Great Britain.

A bond of friendship and common purpose has existed between our two great nations for more than 140 years. In a world of change, that bond is constant. In a world of uncertainty, that bond is unfailing. In a world of strife, that bond is our security.

In the name of that bond--and in the hope and belief that it will never weaken--I would now like to propose a toast to Her Majesty the Queen.

Ladies and gentlemen, the Queen.

Note: The President spoke at 10:04 p.m. in the State Dining Room at the White House. In his opening words he referred to Princess Margaret of the United Kingdom and her husband, Lord Snowdon. Princess Margaret responded as follows:

"Thank you so much, Mr. President, for your very kind welcome.

"May I first of all say congratulations to you and Mrs. Johnson on your 31st wedding anniversary.

"We would just like to tell you how excited we are to be here with you in the White House tonight. We are so glad to see that you have made such a splendid recovery from your operation.

"We are having the most wonderful time in the United States. The hospitality and kindness that we have received everywhere has touched us greatly, and it will make us take home superlatively happy memories of all we have done and seen. And we only wish we could have stayed longer.

"Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the toast to the President of the United States."

Lyndon B. Johnson, Toasts of the President and Princess Margaret Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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