In January 1960 a letter arrived at the White House in Washington.
It was for the boss, and it had a recipe for dropping scones.
It reads “Dear Mr. President”. Seeing a picture of you in the newspaper today standing in front of a roast quail reminded me that I had never sent you the scones recipe I gave you at Balmoral.
“Now, I am hurrying to do so, and I hope you will find them successful.”
It was a message from queen President Dwight Eisenhower. She was fulfilling a cooking promise she made to him a year ago.
The handwritten informal letter is a hint of a close relationship and perhaps a hint of what could become a lasting “special relationship” between Britain and America.
As Queen, Elizabeth has met all but one of America’s presidents since Eisenhower, but it was he with whom she had a close relationship.
She was a wartime princess and Eisenhower was the wartime general, and supreme commander of the Allies in Europe, who oversaw Operation Torch in North Africa and Operation Overlord (D-Day) in northern France.
They met and formed a bond during and after the war in London and at Balmoral.
Read more about the Queen and the United States:
Dancing with Ford to Breakdown in Protocol with Carter – The Queen’s Encounters with 13 US Presidents
“It’s very touching because World War II was one of those conflicts that really connected people,” President Susan Eisenhower’s granddaughter told me.
“You speak of the Commander in Chief of the Allies, the Royal Family, who have truly played an extraordinary role in inspiring Great Britain and the world during this truly dangerous time,” she said. “This is where the special relationship begins in a serious way.”
The search for this story allowed to plunge into the video archives. The Queen’s first official visit to America in 1957 was a sight to behold.
The black and white film shows her approaching New York City by boat. Still breathtaking even now, Manhattan’s skyscraper skyline must have been something quite unusual at the time.
The parade of ribbon through the streets of Manhattan shows the remarkable enthusiasm this nation had for the British royal family.
Mrs. Eisenhower told me, “The way my grandparents chose to celebrate her first visit to the United States as Queen, really emphasized the intimacy of this friendship.”
More footage shows the Queen and Prince Philip with President Eisenhower and the First Lady. They seem comfortable. The bond is clear.
The first lady insisted that the royal couple stay in the same White House. Notable foreign dignitaries usually reside in the nearby home of Blair.
Mrs. Eisenhower recalls, “My grandparents insisted that she be treated as a guest of the family, and she remained in a room which was often used by the guests of the house out of town.”
“But my grandmother immediately called it the Queen’s bedroom and put it in a special category, really, where only the most important guests of the president and the first lady are allowed to stay in it.”
The Special Relationship, which is often cited, has grown from here and through several presidencies as well.
It was the Queen, not the politicians, who cemented the transatlantic friendship. Politicians came and went. It was fixed.
Observing how America celebrated her death last week was fascinating.
“I will miss this woman very much,” Ms. Eisenhower said. “It’s interesting. I know all Americans feel this way, but she was really a Queen to all of us and a true Northern Star to us.”
More than 200 years since the United States declared independence from the British Crown, Americans are still strangely attached to Britain and its royal family.
Cable news networks were intertwined with their coverage; Sending broadcasters to London for nearly every show on every network.
The comment was not without significant critical analysis (not so obvious in the UK) – “Sorrow for the Queen, Not Her Empire” was the headline of the New York Times on the day she died.
But overall, it was the most soulful vocal reflection and suggests that many in this nation adored the woman she was and found a gentle curiosity with the institution she represented.
This is, after all, the nation that invented the Disney princess and brought down Downton Abbey and The Crown. Passing the real deal has always had a huge impact on this side of the pond.
But more seriously, I feel envy among Americans. For decades, they have observed a queen who provides loneliness, a pivotal apolitical figure in society of the kind they don’t have.
So what now? How will the special relationship develop?
So, what is the secret of the scones?
In his musings, President Biden referred to the Queen’s “steadfastness.” The relationship solidified.
President Bill Clinton once noted that the Queen has the qualities of a politician and diplomat, but a skill that never seems to be the case. Can the same be said of King Charles?
King Charles She has no Queen’s attraction to America, and Prime Minister Liz Truss has not (yet) acknowledged the special affair the way he did before her.
As for cooking tips, will more recipes be shared between royals and presidents? we will see. But here, for posterity, are the Queen’s pointers that point to a chief.
“In general I put in less flour and milk, but use other ingredients as mentioned,” the Queen wrote.
“I’ve also tried using golden syrup or molasses in place of just sugar, and I think that can work just as well. I think the mixture needs a lot of whisking while it’s being made and shouldn’t stand for long before cooking.”