A major new book by the Mail's royal writer outlines the diplomatic role undertaken by the Queen during her unprecedented years of public service.
Yesterday, he told what really happens when the royals embark on a foreign tour.
Today, in the final part of our serialisation, he traces HM's own special relationship with the U.S.
Gerald Ford dancing with Queen Elizabeth II at the ball at the White House, Washington, during the 1976 Bicentennial Celebrations of the Declaration of Independence
For her very first trip to Florida — part of her 1991 state visit to America — the Royal Yacht had sailed in to Miami to rendezvous with the Queen.
As Britannia's crew waited to greet her, they flushed through all the royal baths and heads (ship's lavatories), which was standard practice ahead of a royal arrival. Whereupon Britannia's captain suddenly had a furious official from the Miami port authority thumping on his door.
The crew had just breached strict environmental regulations and the captain was handed a $10,000 (£7,700) fine plus an order to leave port within two hours.
No matter that the Queen was due to host a state banquet on board that very evening, with two former U.S. presidents among the guests. Rules were rules. The Yacht would have to pack up and go.
It was only after the direct intervention of the White House that Britannia was allowed to remain alongside. The banquet duly took place without further incident.
The fabled 'special relationship' had worked its magic once again.
It's a phrase, however, which is heard more often on this side of the Atlantic and there are commentators in both Britain and the U.S. who regard any notion of a 'special relationship' as sentimental, subservient wishful thinking on the part of the British Establishment.
There have certainly been some strong individual pairings between No 10 and the White House, notably Churchill and Roosevelt, Thatcher and Reagan and, latterly, Blair and George W. Bush.
Queen Elizabeth II rides on horseback with American President Ronald Reagan in Windsor, June 1982
However, historians will note that there has been a more subtle, yet more consistent, 'special relationship' operating between the White House and Buckingham Palace throughout the reign of Elizabeth II — even during periods of deep political division.
Unlike the Queen's dealings with most countries, which have followed a well-established pattern, this is a friendship that has broken the bilateral mould. There can be few people in the U.S., let alone the rest of the world, who have lived through the administrations of 16 presidents — more than one-third of the total — and met 12 of them.
Of the handful of private foreign holidays that the Queen has enjoyed in her life (all horse-related), five have been spent in the U.S.
And in 2018, the Royal Family welcomed their first American Princess. Yet the Queen's own 'special relationship' goes back to the nursery.
It was in 1939 that her parents travelled to Canada and the U.S. to bolster support for Britain ahead of impending hostilities in Europe. The royals rather enjoyed all the informality.
The Queen wrote an excited letter to her daughters about a memorable picnic lunch: 'All our food on one plate — a little salmon, some turkey, some ham, lettuce, beans & HOT DOGS too!'
While some Americans were appalled at the idea of serving hot dogs to a king, the Royal Family would never forget it.
Growing up in wartime Windsor, Princess Elizabeth was acutely aware of the strain on her father as he tried to buoy the morale of a nation facing invasion at any moment, and she could sense the redemptive significance of America's entry into the war.
Queen Elizabeth signs on behalf of her dominion of Canada during the conclusion of the Power Project Ceremonies at the New York state end of the St. Lawrence Power Dam
Come victory and the drab, near-bankrupt years of austerity that followed, it was America that represented fun and glamour.
Like so many others, the Princesses were entranced by the explosive arrival of the first American musical after the war, Oklahoma!
Princess Margaret reportedly went to see it more than 30 times. Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip watched it together as a courting couple in 1947; People Will Say We're in Love has been one of 'their' songs ever since.
The Queen's first experience of the U.S. was in 1951, when as Princess Elizabeth she interrupted a tour of Canada to meet President Harry Truman at the White House.
Her first visit as Queen came in 1957 when she met President Dwight D. Eisenhower as well as the then-Vice-President Richard Nixon.
Alongside formalities to mark the 350th anniversary of the first English colony at Jamestown, Virginia, the Queen and the Duke paid their first visit to a supermarket.
Pictured: The Queen of the World by Robert Hardman
'How nice you can bring your children along,' she told shoppers as she marvelled at the sight of a frozen-food section.
Food was also on the agenda in 1959 when the Queen first entertained a U.S. president at home.
Spending two days with the monarch at Balmoral, President Eisenhower found the experience so agreeable that he asked the Queen for 'her' scone recipe (though not her own, she duly transcribed it in her own hand).
Disagreements after the Suez Crisis and then over Vietnam would strain the 'special relationship' on the political front, but not the rapport between the Windsors and the White House.
In 1976, Gerald Ford invited the Queen across the Atlantic for a tumultuous state visit to honour the bicentenary of American independence.
She was accompanied by her new Foreign Secretary, Anthony Crosland, and his American-born wife, who later recorded the Queen's advice on how to get through arduous tours like these.
'One plants one's feet like this,' the Queen told her. 'Always keep them parallel. Make sure your weight is evenly distributed. That's all there is to it.'
The advice would be invaluable, with a punishing itinerary in 100f (38c) heat. The centrepiece was a White House state banquet for more than 200 guests, including Hollywood stars Cary Grant, Telly Savalas and Merle Oberon.
There was some amusement when the after-dinner cabaret, pop duo Captain & Tennille, launched into their moderately risque hit Muskrat Love.
That turned to considerable unamusement when President Ford invited the Queen to dance. The band chose that very moment to strike up a new tune: The Lady Is A Tramp.
There was an even more awkward moment when Ford's successor arrived at Buckingham Palace a year later. Perhaps overcome with nerves on what was his first journey outside the U.S., Jimmy Carter became a little over-familiar with a senior member of the Royal Family.
As William Shawcross notes in her official biography, the Queen Mother hated being told that she reminded people of their own mothers. Having informed her that she did, indeed, remind him of his own mother — 'Miz Lillian' — President Carter kissed the Queen Mother on the lips.
As she later remarked, no one had done that since the death of George VI. 'I took a sharp step backwards,' she recalled, 'not far enough.'
Carter's successor, however, would enjoy one of the more enduring friendships between the Queen and any foreign politician. It certainly helped that Ronald Reagan was an accomplished horseman.
When he came to Windsor Castle for a semi-private stay in 1982, the two heads of state spent a good hour riding all over Windsor Great Park followed by teams of bodyguards — on both four legs and four wheels.
On a return trip to the U.S. in 1983, the Queen fulfilled a lifetime's ambition of touring the West Coast. In Hollywood, Reagan laid on a star-packed lunch for 500.
The entertainment included Frank Sinatra, Bob Hope and Perry Como, but the arrangements left some of the local talent rather peeved.
'Ronald Reagan was asked who should be at the top table,' recalls Sir Brian Fall, then private secretary to the British Foreign Secretary, Francis Pym. 'Should it be actor friends or political friends? He couldn't sort it out so he said: 'Why don't we pack it out with Brits in Hollywood?' '
The result was a top table full of British-born stars such as Julie Andrews and Dudley Moore. For some status-obsessed Hollywood egos, it was all too much.
The Palace press office, which had played no part in the planning, was left fending off accusations that the Queen was only interested in sitting with fellow Brits.
Her Majesty the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh this afternoon arrived in Washington D.C. where they were greeted by President Eisenhower
'I was on the table next door with Julie Andrews's husband,' Sir Brian recalls. 'He was so ticked off at not being on the right table that he walked off and left a gap.'
A few days later the Queen was due to arrive in San Francisco on Britannia, but foul weather persuaded her to fly instead. The Reagans put Air Force Two at her disposal and staff recall a very excited Queen pressing her face against a plane window to enjoy an aerial view of the Golden Gate Bridge.
With no Royal Yacht to stay on, the combined power of the White House, the Palace and the personal contacts of the former state governor found the Queen and the Duke last-minute accommodation in the Presidential Suite at the St Francis Hotel, where Nancy Reagan even arranged for works of art from local museums to be rounded up and hung on the walls.
'The next question was: where to go for dinner?' remembers Sir Brian. Again the White House came to the rescue and managed to empty San Francisco's most famous restaurant, Trader Vic's, for the night. For the Queen, who had not eaten in a restaurant for 15 years, it was a novel experience, right down to being given a fortune cookie at the end (she read the message and then put it in her handbag).
The 'special relationship' was still in robust shape following the first Gulf War as the Queen and Prince Philip arrived to stay with President George H. W. Bush in 1991.
However, the state visit got off to an inauspicious start following President Bush's formal welcome on the White House lawn. After his speech, he was supposed to press a pedal which raised the platform from which the Queen was then going to speak.
Source : https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6157131/The-REAL-Lady-Overly-familiar-presidents-blundering-officials.html