Donald Trump: The Queen is a 'tremendous woman'

Praises her for controversy-free reign

By JESSIE YEUNG, CNN
Leon Neal/Getty Images

Queen Elizabeth II attends day one of Royal Ascot at Ascot Racecourse on June 19, 2018.

(CNN) - U.S. President Trump described Queen Elizabeth II as a "tremendous woman" in an interview with The Sun newspaper, hours before he and first lady Melania Trump are due to meet the monarch for tea on Friday.

"She is a tremendous woman," Trump told the newspaper during his UK working visit. "I really look forward to meeting her. I think she represents her country so well."

The President also praised the Queen's ability to avoid controversy during her 66-year reign.

"If you think of it, for so many years she has represented her country, she has really never made a mistake. You don't see, like, anything embarrassing. She is just an incredible woman," he said.

The President was less effusive in his comments about British Prime Minister Theresa May, whom he dined with at a state dinner Thursday evening after a red-carpet arrival in the UK.

At the end of the evening, The Sun released audio of the interview, in which Trump said May "didn't listen" to his advice on negotiating Brexit.

"I told her how to do it. That will be up to her to say. But I told her how to do it. She wanted to go a different route," Trump said.

"She should negotiate the best way she knows how, but it's too bad what's going on."

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders responded on Thursday, saying that, "The President likes and respects Prime Minister May very much," and that he "never said anything bad about her."

The Queen and her presidents

The Queen has met almost every president since her reign began in 1952, with the sole exception of Lyndon B. Johnson, who didn't visit Britain during his time in office.

Trump follows in the footsteps of previous presidents to visit Windsor Castle, including Ronald Reagan in 1982, George W. Bush in 2008, and Barack Obama in 2016.

Windsor Castle holds a special significance for the royal family. The oldest and largest inhabited castle in the world, it's one of Queen Elizabeth II's official residences. It's also said to be one of her favorite weekend destinations.

Windsor Castle was also the venue for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's lavish royal wedding in May.

Ronald Reagan was the first president to stay overnight at the castle, and he made quite a splash. Reagan and the Queen went horseback riding on the grounds of Windsor Castle, while Prince Philip and first lady Nancy Reagan rode in a horse-drawn carriage.

Bush stopped by the castle for a quick afternoon tea with the Queen and Prince Philip in 2008, and eight years later Obama arrived to celebrate the Queen's 90th birthday.

Obama had a birthday lunch with the British monarch, and met young Prince George, who was allowed to stay up 15 minutes past his bedtime for the occasion.

On Friday Trump and first lady Melania will have tea with the Queen in one of her drawing rooms before leaving for Scotland.

Copyright 2018 by CNN NewSource. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.