Obama Reflects on Time Spent With Queen Elizabeth as All Former Presidents Are Invited to Memorial for Monarch
Former President Barack Obama reflected on his time spent with Queen Elizabeth II and the lasting impression the late monarch made on his family in an exclusive interview with the BBC.
All five living former presidents—Donald Trump, Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter—have reportedly been invited to memorial for Queen Elizabeth II, which will be held in collaboration with the British Embassy at the Washington National Cathedral.
The event's invitation described the memorial as "a Service of Thanksgiving for the Life of Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II," the Telegraph reported. It is going to feature an honor guard by the Queen’s Color Squadron, which is a unit of the Royal Air Force, and will be held on Wednesday, according to Sky News.
The place of worship previously hosted memorial services, as well as state funerals for former U.S. presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower, Ronald Reagan, Gerald Ford and George H.W. Bush. Whether any or all of the former presidents will attend the upcoming service has not yet been confirmed.
Immediately struck by how much the queen reminded him of his own grandmother, in not just appearance but also in manner, Obama said Queen Elizabeth was "gracious," but also had a "no nonsense" quality, was an "excellent listener" who had a genuine curiosity "although she was impatient to get to the point."
In 2011, the Obamas were invited to a state dinner at Buckingham Palace, and while then-First Lady Michelle Obama was slightly concerned over gifting the queen the "small modest broach of nominal value" that she had picked out, the following evening, when the American Embassy hosted the queen for a state dinner in return, she arrived wearing the broach.
"It was an example of the subtle thoughtfulness that she consistently displayed not just to us but to everybody who she interacted with," Obama said.
"The combination of a sense of duty and a clear understanding of her role as a symbol for a nation and as the carrier of a certain set of values combined with a very human quality of kindness and consideration, I think that's what made her so beloved, not just in Great Britain but around the world," he told the BBC.
Obama's interview came as the world over mourned the death of Queen Elizabeth II, and while her own family apparently pushed through their own pain to honor the late monarch.
On Friday, Queen Camilla could be seen stumbling as she was leaving a cathedral, the first outward sign of the 75-year-old's secret pain from which she's been suffering after breaking a toe. She suffered the injury before the death of Queen Elizabeth II.
Camilla is “in a lot of pain” but “has been an absolute trooper,” a palace insider told London’s Daily Telegraph. She has been at King Charles III’s side for most of his grueling schedule and stood to attention for 20 minutes as the queen was lying in state.
Meanwhile, protesters demanding Welsh independence jeered King Charles on a visit to Wales Friday, but there were far more people cheering and clamoring to see the new king. He had by then solved the problem that triggered a petulant flash of temper over a leaky pen: he was seen carrying his own pen, which he took out from his breast pocket before sitting down to sign documents Friday.
The Royal families’ many obligations came as hundreds of thousands waited to pay their respects to Queen Elizabeth II. Among the mourners was soccer idol David Beckham. The emotional moment as he paused and bowed reverently came after he spent more than 12 hours in line with other well-wishers.
“We all want to be here together we all want to experience something where we celebrate the amazing life of our queen,” Beckham said.
And Princes William and Harry’s feud is reportedly not over, despite efforts to put on a united front. “From what I am being told, it is papering over the cracks until this is over rather than any form of real reconciliation,” DailyMail.com columnist Dan Wooten said of the status of their rift.
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