Photos of British Royal Family’s Visits to the U.S. Over the Years

The Royal Family has been visiting the United States for more than 80 years now, touching lives in states across the country along the way. While official visits — and even impromptu visits — come with a range of important duties, they usually also allow for moments of downtime and entertainment with celebrities. From King George VI and the future Queen Mother’s very first hot dog to Prince Charles’ date with Tricia Nixon, these photos show just how many memories were made in the United States. As Prince William and Kate Middleton prepare to visit Boston in December 2022, there’s no better time to look back on the best royal visits to the United States throughout history.

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King George VI and the future Queen Mother were the very first members of the British Royal Family to visit the United States in 1939. Here, President Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Royal Family roam the streets of New York en route towards the top of the commander in chief. Cottage retreat.

The King and Queen sail aboard the Presidential Yacht to Mount Vernon, New York. During a picnic with the President and the First Lady, they both tasted a hot dog for the very first time!

Here, King George VI and the future Queen Mother stand on the steps of the Capitol with senators from across the country.

Then-Princess Elizabeth made her first trip to the United States in 1951, where she met President Harry Truman. “Whenever someone knows you,” he told her at the time, “they immediately fall in love.”

Queen Elizabeth returned six years later for her first state visit as monarch. She seemed to enjoy her first and only college football game in Maryland, where she asked, “Where do you get all those huge players?”

The Queen and Prince Philip visit one of the ships at the Jamestown Festival Park pier during a stopover in Virginia.

During a state visit in 1959, Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip drive an electric car through the Chicago International Trade Fair.

Princess Margaret and her husband Antony Armstrong-Jones ride one of San Francisco’s famous cable cars during their trip to sunny California in November 1965.

Margaret admires the view from the top of the city’s iconic Coit Tower.

During a stopover in Hollywood, the royal family visits Alfred Hitchcock on the set of his film Torn curtain.

Princess Margaret and Lord Snowdon take riding lessons at the Arizona ranch of former US Ambassador to Britain Lewis Douglas.

The couple stops in Washington, DC near the end of their trip to see sights like the Lincoln Memorial.

During his first visit to the United States as Prince of Wales, Prince Charles gets close to President Richard Nixon’s daughter, Tricia, at a baseball game. “It was pretty fun, I have to say,” he later told CNN of the trip. “That was when they were trying to marry me to Tricia Nixon.”

Princess Anne joins her brother on the balcony of the White House, alongside President Richard Nixon and First Lady Pat Nixon.

Queen Elizabeth dances with President Gerald Ford at a State Dinner at the White House during her visit to the East Coast in 1976.

Queen Elizabeth walks past Philadelphia’s famous Liberty Bell.

The monarch waves to onlookers as she walks past the iconic Bloomingdale’s flagship store in New York City.

Prince Charles returned to America in 1977, where he visited the McDonnell Douglas factory in St. Louis. Here, founder James S. McDonnell shows off an F-15 Eagle jet fighter.

The future king made a stopover in California, where he visited the set of MASH POTATOES. The actors, including Alan Alda, share a laugh with the royal on a puffy surgical glove.

Prince Charles continues to mingle with Hollywood stars, like Farrah Fawcett and Lee Majors, at a banquet held in his honor at the Beverly Hilton Hotel.

While in Downey, California, Queen Elizabeth receives a tour of Apollo 14 models and the Space Shuttle at the Rockwell International Space Facility.

Prince Charles and Princess Diana chat with President Ronald Reagan and First Lady Nancy Reagan inside the West Sitting Hall of the White House.

During a dinner at the White House’s Cross Hall, Princess Diana shares a now-famous dance with John Travolta. First Lady Nancy Reagan actually helped the two meet. “Oh yes, you can,” Reagan told Travolta when he said he “couldn’t” ask the royal to dance.

During a polo match in Palm Beach, Florida, Princess Diana distributes prizes to participants, including her husband.

Four years later, Princess Di made her first official trip abroad without Prince Charles. After arriving in New York, she visits the Henry Street Settlement on the Lower East Side, a non-profit organization providing resources and services to residents in need.

In what eventually became known as the “talking hat” speech, Queen Elizabeth presents President George HW Bush with the Winston Churchill Prize from behind a podium too high for her 5’4″ frame.

The monarch makes Congress laugh two days later by joking: “I hope you can see me today”.

Shortly after her divorce, Lady Di returned to the United States for a fundraising event for the Nina Hyde Center for Breast Cancer Research. We see her laughing with Washington Post owner Katharine Graham, vogue editor Anna Wintour, designer Ralph Lauren and Georgetown University President Leo J. O’Donovan.

Here Diana visits what is now known as the John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital of Cook County in Chicago.

A few months later, Diana returns to the Big Apple for the Met Gala, wearing this now-iconic Versace gown and statement jewelry.

Prince Edward accepts the Bette Davis Special Achievement Award from Boston University for his work in documentary filmmaking.

Princess Anne receives a collection of historic seeds to celebrate the opening of the British Royal Garden in Manhattan.

Queen Elizabeth eagerly points something out to Prince Philip while watching the Kentucky Derby. With her love of fashionable hats and horses, she suited the event perfectly.

The Duchess of Cornwall gets a close-up view of the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia the same year.

53 years after her first speech at the United Nations, Queen Elizabeth made her return in 2010 to New. York. “I hope that, judged by future generations, our sincerity, our willingness to take the lead and our determination to do the right thing will stand the test of time,” she said at the time.

Later that day, the monarch lays a wreath at the World Trade Center site. It was the first time she had visited Ground Zero since the September 11 terrorist attacks nine years earlier.

Prince William and Kate Middleton go on their own trip the following year. Here they laugh during a painting class held at Inner City Arts in Los Angeles.

The newlyweds kiss after William’s participation in the Foundation Polo Challenge in Santa Barbara.

While attending the BAFTA Brits to Watch event, they mingle with stars like Jennifer Lopez.

William and Kate shake hands with Hillary and Chelsea Clinton at a reception in New York.

In town, the couple stops at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn to watch a basketball game. They were seen sharing popcorn…

Appearing on the jumbotron…

While chatting with Jay-Z and Beyoncé…

And even receive gifts from LeBron James!

Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall speak with President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden in the Oval Office of the White House.

Meghan Markle cheers on her close friend Serena Williams at Arthur Ashe Stadium in Queens, New York. She sits with family and friends of the tennis star, like Venus Williams and Anna Wintour.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle share an intimate moment before he delivers a keynote address at the United Nations in New York.

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