White House Wednesdays
President Donald J. Trump and First Lady Melania Trump greet the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall prior to a dinner at Winfield House in London June 4, 2019 (Official White House Photo by Andrea Hanks).

The British Royals made headlines this morning with the announcement that Charles, Prince of Wales and heir apparent to the British throne, has tested positive for the coronavirus.  The Palace released a statement, “He has been displaying mild symptoms but otherwise remains in good health and has been working from home throughout the last few days as usual.” He is self- isolating in Scotland with his second wife, Camilla, the duchess of Cornwall (who has tested negative for the virus). 

Prince Charles, Princess Anne, Tricia Nixon, Julie Nixon Eisenhower and David Eisenhower before the White House party on the South Lawn, July 17, 1970 (The Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Foundation).

Her Majesty the Queen released a statement last week, “At times such as these, I am reminded that our nation’s history has been forged by people and communities coming together to work as one, concentrating our combined efforts with a focus on the common goal…… I am certain we are up to that challenge”.  A sentiment we share with the Royal Family and wish for the world.  We wish the Prince and all that are ill a speedy recovery.

The first White House party thrown in honor of Prince Charles and Princess Anne, 1970 (The Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Foundation).

The Prince is the son of Queen Elizabeth II, the longest-reigning monarch in British history, making her not only a beloved figure in her native England, but also throughout the world. Her Majesty’s popularity in America is a testament to the continuing relationship between the United States and Great Britain, despite our rather complicated beginnings, and this popularity in the media extends to her son, Prince Charles.  Like his mother, Prince Charles has had many memorable moments and parties in his honor at the White House.  These events at the White House have captured the American public and media as do their events across the pond.  Here are some of the most revered. 

5/2/1981 Prince Charles signs a guest book in the White House residence as Nancy Reagan looks on during a private dinner for the Prince of Wales Prince Charles

Prince Charles first came the White House in 1970, and his hosts were not President and Mrs. Nixon but rather first daughters Tricia Nixon and Julie Nixon Eisenhower (the Prince’s sister, Princess Anne also attended).  The visit of the Royals lasted nearly three days and included everything from a trip to Camp David to an evening tour of the Washington Monument.  A “Dinner and Dance” was also part of the two-night stay that caused the most excitement at the White House.  It was an extravaganza on the South Lawn that included children of the governors, children of Washington officials and other VIPS.  It was a media frenzy surrounding the young Prince and Princess’s activities and more than 200 requests were received for the special press credentials to cover the visit (an enormous number for that time).

Mrs. Reagan introduces Prince Charles to fashion icon Diana Vreeland at a private dinner for him, 1981(Reagan Library).

Before he was married Prince Charles’ first visited the Reagan White House in May of 1981. The Prince was in the United States on an unofficial visit for just a few brief days following a five-week tour in which he visited New Zealand, Australia, and Venezuela.  On his last evening in the states he attended an intimate dinner held in the private residence of the White House with a small but powerful guest list of 30.  Singer Bobby Short entertained the group in the Yellow Oval Room.

Four years later one of the greatest evenings in White House history took place with the celebrate dinner for Prince Charles and his bride Princess Diana.  The dinner like all Reagan events took weeks to prepare for and the star-studded guests list was one of the greatest to dates.  The evening included John Travolta famously dancing with the princess who at the end of the dance in a rare show of respect for a nonroyal, Princess Diana curtsied to the actor.  It was a perfect evening — and it turned out to be the most remembered event of the Reagan administration.

This photograph shows President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush with His Royal Highness Prince Charles of Wales and Her Royal Highness Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall on the North Portico.

In November 2005, Prince Charles and his new bride, Camilla Parker Bowles, now the Duchess of Cornwall, spent several days in the United States, including New York City, the West Coast, and Washington, D.C. On the day of their arrival, President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush hosted a relaxed, intimate lunch for the prince and duchess in the family residence. When the royal couple returned that evening for the black-tie dinner, there were cheers from the crowd gathered outside the White House gates.  Newly appointed White House Executive Chef Cristeta Comerford served a magnificent four-course meal and after dinner, guests were treated to a performance by famed cellist Yo-Yo Ma.

(Official White House Photo by Andrea Hanks).

Prince Charles hasn’t always had to travel across the pond to be the guest of honor at a presidential dinner.  Just last summer President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump went to London to observe the 75th anniversary of D-Day. After Queen Elizabeth welcomed President and Mrs. Trump to Buckingham Palace for a state banquet, President and Mrs. Trump held a reciprocal dinner for Prince Charles and Camilla at Winfield House, the 12.5-acre residence of the U.S. Ambassador to Britain, filled with all the formalities and traditions of a White House state dinner.  The evening was perfectly elegant and received rave reviews – another evening marking presidential history!

The reciprocal dinner at Winfield House (Official White House Photo by Andrea Hanks).

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