Newly released documents have revealed that in 1982, the Reagan White House took a long time to reply to a personal invitation from Queen Elizabeth II for President Reagan and his wife Nancy to stay with her at Windsor Castle during a planned visit to England.
Usually, a personal invitation from the queen would receive a prompt reply, but, according to the Associated Press, the invitation went unanswered for weeks.
"It is really for the president to respond to her invitation, which he has not done personally, something that I have pointed out several times here," writes Nicholas Henderson, Britain's ambassador to Washington, in a memo to the British Foreign Office. "As you know those surrounding the president are not deliberately rude: It is simply that they are not well-organized and do not have experience of this sort of thing."
Fortunately the misunderstanding was cleared up and the faux pas did not cause any lasting damage between the nations.
A former Reagan official today says Reagan's wife may have been to blame for the delay.
"You have to remember that Mrs. Reagan was very strict about his schedule, and she would consult her astrologer to see if this was the right time to travel," William F. Sittman, a special assistant to Reagan who was involved in planning the trip, told The Associated Press. "Sometimes she would back up departures."
Nearly 500 pages of formerly confidential papers relating to the Reagan visit were made public on Friday by Britain's National Archives.
The dossier is filled with everything from political matters, such as how to maximize Britain's influence on US policy, to slightly less important concerns, such as what gift to give the Reagans (a carriage clock) and what the president should wear to go horseback riding with the queen.
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