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When Queen Elizabeth II came to Texas, she met with 5 influential women in politics — but never LBJ

Brian Kirkpatrick
Texas Public Radio

Queen Elizabeth II never formally met with former President Lyndon B. Johnson, who died in 1973, four years after his presidency ended. He's believed to be the only president during her reign who she didn't meet. Here's who the queen did meet on her trip to Texas in 1991.

It took Queen Elizabeth II nearly 40 years of her 70-year reign — the longest in British history — to make her first and only trip to Texas. Despite that, she had a lasting impression on the Lone Star State — one that Texans are reflecting on in light of the 96-year-old’s death.

The year was 1991, and Elizabeth was 65. She met with several important women in Texas politics, including then-Gov. Ann Richards, San Antonio’s first female mayor Lila Cockrell, Houston’s first female mayor Kathy Whitmire, and Dallas’ second female mayor Annette Strauss. Also in Dallas, she met Fort Worth’s first female mayor Kay Granger, who was sworn into office just hours earlier.

Queen Elizabeth II stands next to President George H.W. Bush on the grass outside the White House in 1991.
George H.W. Bush President Library and Museum
President George H.W. Bush and Queen Elizabeth II review the troops on the south grounds of the White House on May 14, 1991.

The queen also met with Texan and former first lady Lady Bird Johnson at the LBJ Library in Austin. Elizabeth had never formally met the library’s namesake, former President Lyndon B. Johnson, who died in 1973, four years after his presidency ended.

“To the best of our knowledge, President Johnson and Queen Elizabeth did not meet during his time in office; the only president she did not meet during her reign,” officials with the LBJ Library told The Texas Newsroom.

Starting her three-day trip in Austin — the only Texan city on the queen’s itinerary with a male mayor — Richards accompanied Elizabeth on Capitol grounds where a ceremony was held.

According to the University of Texas at Austin Libraries, the queen told the crowd, “No state commands such fierce pride and loyalty. Lesser mortals are pitied for their misfortune in not being born Texans.”

In San Antonio she rode with Cockrell on the River Walk on a barge. She also visited the Alamo.

When the queen and her husband Prince Phillip landed at Dallas Love Field, they were met with another ceremony, with music and mariachi performances.

Their trip coincided with Dallas’ 150th anniversary, and a special reception and dinner was held. Protestors — including two city council members — gathered at Fair Park to express concerns over recently approved redistricting plans.

President George Bush smiles at Queen Elizabeth II as they and Prince Philip and First Lady Laura Bush are photographed before a state dinner at the White House.
George W. Bush Presidential Library & Museum
Prince Philip, First Lady Laura Bush, Queen Elizabeth II and President George W. Bush at the White House state dinner on May 7, 2007.

In Houston, she toured the city’s new Veteran Affairs Medical Center and the Johnson Space Center, according to the Houston Chronicle. Richards rejoined the queen that evening for a banquet at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston.

Queen Elizabeth II departed the Lone Star State at Ellington Air Force Base at the end of her tour.

Ana Campbell with The Texas Newsroom contributed to this story.

Copyright 2022 Texas Public Radio. To see more, visit Texas Public Radio.

Bri Kirkham comes to San Antonio after living most of her life in southern Indiana. She graduated from Ball State University with degrees in journalism and telecommunications.