On September 8, 2022, the world marked the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. In reflecting on the Queen, President Obama noted how she had made the role her own during a more than 70 year reign “defined by grace, elegance, and a tireless work ethic, defying the odds and expectations placed on women of her generation.”

Read President Obama’s full statement.

The Queen’s example is a reminder of how impactful public service can be—an idea that is core to our work at the Obama Foundation and is carried forward by so many of the young leaders on the front lines of making change around the world.

In recognition of her life and legacy, take a look back at moments Queen Elizabeth shared with President and Mrs. Obama.

Shortly after taking office in 2009, President and Mrs. Obama were welcomed to Buckingham Palace by Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip.

In an ornate room lined with chandeliers, delicate crown molding, formal sitting chairs, and a patterned rug, Mrs. Obama shakes hands with and smiles at Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, who is wearing a pink skirt suit, holding a black purse, and smiles back. President Obama stands behind Mrs. Obama with a smile on his face.

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama are welcomed by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II to Buckingham Palace in London, April 1, 2009. Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

Later, President Obama would reflect on the visit, “As two Americans unaccustomed to palaces and pomp, we didn’t know what to expect. We shouldn’t have worried. The Queen and Prince Philip immediately put us at ease with their grace and generosity, turning a ceremonial occasion into something far more natural, even comfortable.”

In 2011, the Obamas returned to the United Kingdom, where the Queen hosted them for a state banquet at Buckingham Palace. The next night, the President and Mrs. Obama hosted a dinner for the Queen at Winfield House, the residence of the United States’ ambassador.

In an expansive room lined with large portraits on the wall, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II points to items on a table, and President Obama leans over with his hands behind his back, observing. To the left of the two leaders, Mrs. Obama stands with her hands clasped in front of her, looking at an item Prince Philip gestures to.

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama are escorted by Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, as they review items from the royal collection that pertain to America, in the Portrait Gallery at Buckingham Palace in London, England, May 24, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Posing for a formal photo, President Obama wears a tuxedo with Mrs. Obama to his right, wearing a long, flowy white gown with white evening gloves. On the left of President Obama, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II stands wearing a crown, white gown, and a blue sash. Prince Philip stands to the right of Mrs. Obama, similarly wearing a tuxedo clad with army regalia and pins.

President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, arrive in the State Dining Room before the State Dinner at Buckingham Palace in London, England, May 24, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

On the left, Tom Hanks wears a tuxedo as he stands around a dinner table and raises a wine glass. In the center, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II stands wearing a white gown and emerald jewelry with a raised wine glass. On the right, President Obama wears a tuxedo and raises a glass. Three other hands are pictured around the table raising a wine glass for a toast.

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama host a dinner in honor of Queen Elizabeth II at Winfield House in London, England, May 25, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

At nightfall, President and Mrs. Obama face Queen Elizabeth II as she smiles at them, sending them off into their car that has its door open. Prince Philip is standing next to the Queen, but only a portion of his profile can be seen.

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama talk with Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, before they depart Winfield House in London, England, May 25, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

In April 2016, the Obamas made their final visit to the United Kingdom while in office, a trip that coincided with the Queen’s 90th birthday.

The Queen’s been a source of inspiration for me like so many people around the world. She is truly one of my favorite people.”

—President Obama, 2016

President and Mrs. Obama face Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip as they all smile. The Queen wears a light blue coat with a floral scarf tied around her hair, and Prince Philip wears a trench coat, suggesting it was a drizzly day. There is green grass and an asphalt drive in the background.

President Barack Obama in London, April 22, 2016. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama also joined other world leaders in celebrating Her Majesty The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee from February to June 2022. Take a look at his message that paid tribute to her leadership, years of service, and the alliance between the United States and the United Kingdom.

 

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