Former US president Barack Obama has paid a touching tribute to Queen Elizabeth II on her Platinum Jubilee.
The 60-year-old politician – who served as the 44th President of the United States – met the 96-year-old monarch many times on state visits to Buckingham Palace during his time in power.
And Obama said the queen reminded him of his own grandmother as he reflected on their “special relationship”.
Speaking in a pre-recorded video message aired during coverage of the Trooping the Colour parade in London on Thursday (02.06.22), he said: “When you’re president of the United States you meet a lot of remarkable people and you try under all circumstances to maintain your composure. But that’s harder than you think when you’re visiting Her Majesty.
“Before I took office, Michelle [Obama, former first lady] and I hadn’t visited many palaces, so we weren’t sure what to expect on our first trip to Buckingham, but we shouldn’t have been worried.
“Her Majesty put us at ease with her grace and generosity, so much so that I walked away thinking that she actually reminded me a little bit of my grandmother. And in the years since I like to think that Her Majesty and I have formed a special relationship of our own.”
Obama went on to hail Her Majesty for her “steadfast stewardship” over the past 70 years, and said her life has been “a gift to the world”.
He added: “Certainly I can say that getting to know her was one of the great privileges of my years in office and I learned so much from seeing the example she made for all of us who have the privilege to serve.
“Your Majesty, it would be a privilege and an understatement to say the world has changed a bit in the seven decades since you came to power, but your character never has. Your steadfast stewardship of one of our most important democracies has made the world safer, and more prosperous through war and through peace, times of adversity and times of prosperity.
“Your life has been a gift, not just for the United Kingdom, but for the world. And it is with gratitude for your leadership and the kindness that you’ve shown me and my family that I say, may the light of your crown continue to reign supreme.”
The Queen was in good spirits as she appeared on Buckingham Palace balcony alongside her cousin, The Duke of Kent, to take the salute at the end of the Trooping the Colour parade on Thursday (02.06.22), the first of many events planned for the four-day celebrations to mark 70 years on the throne.