Phoenix PR executive recalls meeting with Queen Elizabeth II at White House
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- Gordon James will never forget the first time he met Queen Elizabeth II while working at the White House for President George H.W. Bush in 1991. “To meet someone like that, my palms were sweaty. I fully admit it,” said James. “It’s exciting, very exciting, and you know it’s an historical moment.”
The Phoenix public relations executive said the Queen had come to the U.S. for an official state visit and gave an address on the White House Lawn. James remembers the Queen, who was much shorter than the President, not tall enough to see over the podium but going on with her speech anyway.
James said the Queen laughed it off and moved on, putting everyone around her at ease. “Our instructions were, you don’t reach out to the Queen,” said James. “If she reaches out to you, that’s OK, but you don’t extend your hand in greeting unless she extends her hand, which of course, for Americans, is impossible because we do that automatically.”
He recalls the Queen’s heartfelt behavior. “She would just give you a warm smile and you knew it was OK,” James said.
James also remembers a woman at a Virginia housing complex surprising the Queen and giving her a big hug. “The smile on the Queen’s face was just terrific,” said James. “She loved it.”
Looking back at all the memorable moments working at the White House, James will always the time he spent with Queen Elizabeth. “I have been blessed with this kind of work, and to be part of history with her, and Presidents, it’s a great honor and I don’t take it for granted,” said James.
Copyright 2022 KTVK/KPHO. All rights reserved.