June 8, 1982
The Queen. Mr. President, I'm so glad to welcome you and Mrs. Reagan to Britain.
Prince Phillip and I are especially delighted that you have come to be our guests at Windsor Castle, since this has been the home of the Kings and Queens of our country for over 900 years.
I greatly enjoyed our ride together this morning, and I was much impressed by the way in which you coped so professionally with a strange horse and a saddle that must have seemed even stranger. [Laughter]
We hope these will be enjoyable days for you in Britain, as enjoyable as our stays have always been in the United States. We shall never forget the warmth and hospitality of your people in 1976 as we walked through the crowds in Philadelphia, Washington, New York, and Boston to take part in the celebrations of the Bicentennial of American Independence.
Two hundred years before that visit, one of my ancestors had played a seemingly disastrous role in your affairs. [Laughter] Yet, had King George III been able to foresee the long-term consequences of his actions, he might not have felt so grieved about the loss of his colonies.
Out of the War of Independence grew a great nation, the United States of America. And later there was forged a lasting friendship between the new nation and the country to whom she owed so much of her origins. But that friendship must never be taken for granted, and your visit gives me the opportunity to reaffirm and to restate it.
Our close relationship is not just based on history, kinship, and language, strong and binding though these are. It is based on the same values and the same beliefs, evolved over many years in these islands since Magna Carta and vividly stated by the Founding Fathers of the United States.
This has meant that over the whole range of human activity, the people of the United States and the people of Britain are drawing on each other's experience and enriching each other's lives. Of course, we do not always think and act alike, but through the years our common heritage, based on the principles of common law, has prevailed over our diversity. And our toleration has moderated our arguments and misunderstandings.
Above all, our commitment to a common cause has led us to fight together in two World Wars and to continue to stand together today in the defense of freedom.
These past weeks have been testing ones for this country, when, once again, we have had to stand up for the cause of freedom. The conflict in the Falkland Islands was thrust on us by naked aggression, and we are naturally proud of the way our fighting men are serving their country. But throughout the crisis, we have drawn comfort from the understanding of our position shown by the American people. We have admired the honesty, patience, and skill with which you have performed your dual role as ally and intermediary.
In return, we can offer an understanding of how hard it is to bear the daunting responsibilities of world power. The fact that your people have shouldered that burden for so long now, never losing the respect and affection of your friends, is proof of a brave and generous spirit.
Our respect extends beyond the bounds of statesmanship and diplomacy. We greatly admire the drive and enterprise of your commercial life. And we, therefore, welcome the confidence which your business community displays in us by your massive investment in this country's future. And we also like to think we might have made some contribution to the extraordinary success story of American business.
In darker days, Winston Churchill surveyed the way in which the affairs of the British Empire, as it then was, and the United States would become, in his words, ``somewhat mixed up.'' He welcomed the prospect. ``I could not stop it if I wished,'' he said. ``No one can stop it. Like the Mississippi, it just keeps rolling along. Let it roll.'' How right he was. There can be few nations whose destinies have been so inextricably interwoven as yours and mine.
Your presence at Versailles has highlighted the increasing importance, both to Britain and to America, of cooperation among the industrial democracies. Your visit tomorrow to Bonn underlines the importance to both our countries of the continued readiness of the people of the Western Alliance to defend the ways of life which we all share and cherish. Your stay in my country reflects not only the great traditions that hold Britain and the United States together but above all, the personal affection that the British and American people have for one another. This is the bedrock on which our relationship stands.
Mr. President, I raise my glass to you and to Mrs. Reagan, to Anglo-American friendship, and to the prosperity and happiness of the people of the United States.
The President. Your Majesty, Your Royal Highness, Nancy and I are honored to be your guests at this beautiful and historic castle. It was from here that Richard the Lion-Hearted rode out to the Crusades, and from here that his brother, King John, left to sign the Magna Carta. It's a rare privilege to be even a momentary part of the rich history of Windsor Castle.
As we rode over these magnificent grounds this morning, I thought again about how our people share, as you have mentioned, a common past. We are bound by so much more than just language. Many of our values, beliefs, and principles of government were nurtured on this soil. I also thought of how our future security and prosperity depend on the continued unity of Britain and America.
This place symbolizes both tradition and renewal, as generation after generation of your family makes it their home. We in America share your excitement about the impending birth of a child to the Prince and the Princess of Wales. We pray that God will continue to bless your family with health, happiness, and wisdom.
It's been said that the greatest glory of a free-born people is to transmit that freedom to their children. That is a responsibility our people share. Together, and eager for peace, we must face an unstable world where violence and terrorism, aggression and tyranny constantly encroach on human rights. Together, committed to the preservation of freedom and our way of life, we must strengthen a weakening international order and restore the world's faith in peace and the rule of law.
We in the free world share an abiding faith in our people and in the future of mankind. The challenge of freedom is to reject an unacceptable present for what we can cause the future to be. Together, it is within our power to confront the threats to peace and freedom and to triumph over them.
Your Majesty, Nancy and I and all of our party are very grateful for your invitation to visit Great Britain and for your gracious hospitality. Our visit has been enormously productive and has strengthened the ties that bind our peoples.
I would like to propose that we raise our glasses to Her Majesty the Queen of the United Kingdom, to the continued unity of our two nations, the preservation of our freedom for generations to come. I propose a toast to Her Majesty the Queen.
Note: Queen Elizabeth II spoke at 9:47 p.m. in St. George's Hall.