AS PART of Donald Trump’s three-day state visit to the U.K., tonight the Queen honored the US president with a state banquet at Buckingham Palace. At the event Trump took the opportunity to praise Her Majesty and the longstanding cooperation between the United States and England, referring to Queen Elizabeth as a “great, great woman” as he lauded her service to her her country as a mechanic during WWII.
“Through it all, the royal family was the resolute face of the commonwealth’s unwavering solidarity,” Trump said, recalling the bombings that shook London during the war, including the 16 that struck Buckingham Palace itself. “In April 1945, newspapers featured a picture of the Queen Mother visiting the women’s branch of the Army, watching a young woman repair a military truck engine,” he continued. “That young mechanic was the future Queen, a great, great woman. Her Majesty inspired her compatriots in that fight to support the troops, defend her homeland, and defeat the enemy at all costs.”
It was March of 1945 when then-Princess Elizabeth was commissioned as an honorary second subaltern in the Women’s Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS), with the insistence from her father, George VI, that she be treated as any other enlisted member of the women’s service without any special ranks or privileges (she later earned a promotion to junior commander).
The move came as something of a surprise—the future Queen had advocated to serve her country like her peers following her 18th birthday, but she was initially denied entry into service by her father and his councilors, who ruled that “her training as a princess outweighed the nation’s increasing manpower problems and that ‘Betts’ should not join any of the women’s auxiliaries, nor work in a factory,”
Shortly afterward, it was announced that Elizabeth would be getting a commission after all, making her the first woman in the royal family to serve as a full-time active member of the women’s service.
He concluded by honoring George VI’s famous speech before D-Day and the many lives lost during that battle by both American and British troops. This Thursday, June 6th, marks the 75th anniversary of D-Day, the first battle of the Allied liberation of France and, eventually, the rest of Europe. Trump will attend commemorative events in Britain and France during this visit abroad.
“As we honor our shared victory and heritage,” Trump said, “we affirm the common values that will unite us long into the future: freedom, sovereignty, self-determination, the rule of law and reference for the rights given to us by almighty God.” He added, “From the second world war to today, her majesty has stood as a constant symbol of these priceless traditions. She has embodied the spirit of dignity, duty, and patriotism that beats proudly in every British heart.”