President Ronald Reagan Introduced Queen Elizabeth II to a New Cuisine

American politician Ronald Reagan (1911 - 2004), 40th President of the United States, and the Queen of the United Kingdom Elizabeth II at a gala dinner at Windsor Castle, UK, 9th June 1982
McCarthy/Daily Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

When the late Queen Elizabeth II reigned, she often met up with United States presidents. In 1983, President Ronald Reagan was determined to make a good impression on the Queen and invited her for a 10-day semiprivate tour of the West Coast, something she had always dreamed of. Queen Elizabeth and her husband Prince Philip visited the Reagan family’s California ranch and were introduced to a new-to-them cuisine: Mexican food.

She reportedly loved it! David Charter, an author who writes about the Royal family shared, “There were enchiladas, chiles rellenos, refried beans, tacos, rice and guacamole. She absolutely loved it, especially the refried beans. She told one of Reagan’s guys, ‘I really love this meal, especially the used beans.’ She hadn’t quite gotten the name of it, but she certainly enjoyed it and made it well-known to everyone there.”

SANTA BARBARA, UNITED STATES - MARCH 02: Queen Elizabeth II And Prince Philip With President Ronald Reagan And First Lady Nancy Reagan At Their Mountain Top Getaway, Rancho Del Cielo, Just North Of Santa Barbara. Wearing Raincoats Because Of The Inclement Weather - There Was A Heavy Downpour Of Rain - The President Opted Instead For A Denim Jacket, Jeans And A Cowboy Style Lariat Tie For A Photocall Outside His Ranch House.

Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images

The Queen also enjoyed horseback riding on the trip and they bonded over their love of horses. Queen Elizabeth and Reagan had a great relationship over the years and Charter explained, “He was so affable and hospitable to her. That was extremely important to him. They got along terrifically. She also got along wonderfully with [first lady] Barbara Bush. She was similar to the queen, being a matriarch who had to look after a big family on the public stage with perhaps a slightly wayward son who needed guidance, at least as a young man. And Barbara Bush loved dogs – that was a [guaranteed] subject to win the queen over.”

During a State Visit, US President Ronald Reagan (1911 - 2004) and British monarch Queen Elizabeth II ride horses together on the grounds of Windsor Castle, Windsor, England, June 8, 1982

Diana Walker/Getty Images

The Queen reportedly ate very healthy, balanced meals at home in Buckingham Palace but would add in some cheat meals here and there when visiting America. He concluded, “When she visited America, she found her personal sense of freedom. Now, I’m not saying she was running around in jeans and going to rock concerts. But in terms of being queen, she had a freedom in America that was unheard of in Britain.”

British Invasion
Want More?

British Invasion

March 2017

This mop-topped issue has the top 25 British Invasion acts and the second British Invasion of the 1970s and '80s.

Buy This Issue