What U.S. Presidents Gifted Queen Elizabeth Through The Years Might Surprise You

The repercussions of Queen Elizabeth II's death will continue to be felt for years to come, all over the world, such as the impact of her history-making reign. Tatler confirmed Her Majesty officially became the longest-reigning monarch in British history on 9 September 2015, when she beat her great-grandmother, Queen Victoria's, previously-held record. Suffice it to say, there's never been anyone quite like the beloved ruler.

Britain is currently in the midst of a lengthy mourning period — the Independent reported the country will grieve for 10 days total. While the queen lay in state, tons of well-wishers descended upon London to pay their respects, with David Beckham's brief moment by the queen's coffin leaving fans in tears. Although King Charles III was sworn in immediately, it's going to take Britons a while to get used to a new leader. 

When looking back over her legacy, we're immediately struck by Queen Elizabeth's funniest moments and Her Majesty's most memorable quotes, all of which solidifies her impact on pop culture at large. She was one of a kind, as evidenced by the frequently extravagant gifts the queen received from American presidents over the years.

President Biden had something specially made for Her Majesty

According to Town & Country, Queen Elizabeth II met with a whopping 13 U.S. presidents over the course of her 70-year reign. The only one she missed during her tenure was Lyndon B. Johnson. In fact, the queen even managed to meet current President Joe Biden before her passing. Further, he recently visited her coffin, alongside his wife Jill Biden (via People).

When Her Majesty first met the American leader, in June 2021, Biden offered a "special gift" to the monarch that he felt befit her. Best Life revealed the president gave the queen a highly unique, specially designed, sterling silver decorative box from Tiffany & Co. engraved with a detailed sketch of Windsor Castle and flowers representing different members of the Commonwealth.

It "was his thoughtful way of expressing just how meaningful meeting Her Majesty at Windsor Castle was to him, while acknowledging just how special a place it has always been to the Queen," an insider explained (via Best Life). They added, "There was also a lengthy personal inscription inside the box commemorating the president's meeting with the Queen and expressing support for the continuation of the long-standing relationship between the United States and Britain."

President George H. W. Bush's gift for the queen wasn't as memorable as he intended

Most people who are lucky enough to meet the queen are probably hoping to leave an impression. In the case of President George H. W. Bush, however, he didn't realize just how well he'd done. According to USA Today, Barbara Brush recalled in her diary how her husband had admired a silver bowl, with three small feet, which was on display alongside various other gifts in the Music Room at Buckingham Palace. The first couple was enjoying a luncheon there at the time.

The president enquired about the piece, wondering what exactly it was, only for Her Majesty to tell him plainly: "I don't know. You gave it to ME." Aside from the awkward moment, which occurred in 1989, President Bush also took the queen to a baseball game, in Baltimore, in 1991 (via CBS News). The unlikely duo was captured looking to be in good spirits at the event for which, Politico noted, Her Majesty dressed in her finery as normal, donning three strands of pearls.

President Reagan had an eye on the future with his present for the iconic monarch

As CBS News pointed out, although Queen Elizabeth II met most of the sitting U.S. presidents during her time on the throne, she discovered a particular kinship with Ronald Reagan, in part because of their shared love of horseback riding. Aside from going riding together, she and Prince Philip hosted the president and his wife Nancy Reagan on their swish Yacht Britannia. At the time, he described it as a "magical evening" and noted Her Majesty and Philip were "really warm, likable people."

British Vogue reported that, in 1983, the royal couple visited their new friends at the Reagans' scenic vacation spot, in the wilds of California. There, the president gave Her Majesty a Hewlett-Packard computer, which was worth about $24,000 at the time. The queen was delighted with the new piece of equipment, immediately installing it in Buckingham Palace and using the PC to track her horse breeding and racing programs — something that no doubt would have brought great joy to horse-lover Reagan too.

President JFK made absolutely sure the queen remembered him

Sadly, Queen Elizabeth II only got to meet President John F. Kennedy once, back in 1961, but he made sure she didn't forget him in a hurry. Harper's Bazaar confirmed JFK gifted Her Majesty a signed portrait of himself, which was presented in a glitzy, silver Tiffany & Co. frame, naturally. There was a handwritten inscription too, which read: "To Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, with appreciation and highest esteem, John F. Kennedy."

In 2017, royal fans and budding historians alike were given the opportunity to view the present for the first time during Buckingham Palace's "Royal Gifts" exhibition. Curator Sally Goodsir explained to People that, although it may seem a bit cheeky, "because Kennedy came to dinner and not on a state visit, that would be the level of gift that would have been considered appropriate." 

It probably meant even more to her in the end because, just two years later, JFK was assassinated, which added to the historical significance of the piece. According to Vogue, the president and his wife actually planned to give the queen something more meaningful when they next met, during a state visit, but of course, it never happened.

President Obama raised eyebrows with his present for Her Majesty

Per Insider, in his book "Kensington Palace: An Intimate Memoir from Queen Mary to Meghan Markle," author Tom Quinn revealed Her Majesty was so enamored with President Barack Obama that she continued requesting he visit her in the U.K. even after his tenure in the White House was over. In fact, Barack and his wife Michelle Obama visited Buckingham Palace on three separate occasions during his presidency. 

USA Today noted during their 2011 visit, the couple gifted Queen Elizabeth II "a vintage American-made brooch from 1950 featuring 14-karat yellow gold, diamonds and moss agate, which she pinned to her sequined evening gown." It was a major step up from their 2009 present, an iPod, which the British press took major offense to, believing it wasn't a suitable gift for a queen (via Express).

Despite jokes about what kind of music she might listen to, it's worth noting the device was pre-loaded with some of her favorite Broadway show tunes, a recording of Barack's inauguration speech, and footage of Her Majesty's 2007 visit to America (per USA Today). As historical author Kate Andersen Brower argued, "I can imagine the queen must have appreciated the iPod because it was a uniquely modern unpretentious present."

Besides, Politico noted she already had an iPod after being encouraged to get one by her son, Prince Andrew. Between the HP computer and the MP3 player, it's clear the beloved monarch had her finger on the pulse.