The White House
President George W. Bush
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For Immediate Release
Office of the First Lady
May 7, 2007

Mrs. Bush's Remarks in a Media Preview for the State Dinner in Honor of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and His Royal Highness The Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh
State Dining Room

      Welcoming Queen Elizabeth II

2:25 P.M.

MRS. BUSH: Hello, everyone. We're so happy tonight to have the opportunity to entertain Her Majesty and His Highness, His Royal Highness, Prince Philip, for a white tie dinner. They hosted us at Buckingham Palace in 2003 for a white tie dinner, and we're really thrilled to have the opportunity to host them.

We came to the State Dinner for Queen Elizabeth back in '93* when President Bush was President, and so we know what this dinner will be like, and we've been really looking forward to it for that reason.

We just had a luncheon. It was just a family, relaxing luncheon. We had our two ambassadors -- Ambassador Tuttle, the U.S. ambassador to England, and Sir David Manning, the ambassador to Washington from Great Britain. And then we had George's sister Dorothy and her son Sam, and George's brother Marvin and his wife Margaret, who both live in the area. And so we had a very fun and relaxing lunch. And I will say, Cris, the food was superb. It was really great. And I know you saw when it went back that everyone ate everything. (Laughter.)

And Bill did a beautiful dessert that was a big flower sort of arrangement of spun sugar in the middle on sort of an egg, and then little watering cans of chocolate sorbet. And so it was a beautiful garden theme for that dessert.

Let's see. Tonight's entertainment is Itzhak Perlman. I think you all have already seen that in the release, which I think will be great. And George and I are very, very proud to have him as our entertainment for Her Majesty. We'll also have the Strolling Strings, as usual, that will come in during dessert. And then the Army Chorus will sing to close the evening.

So I think we'll have a really great time there. I think you've all seen the guest list, and in a minute I think they'll bring you over so you can see who's sitting at the President's table and who's sitting at my table. Our special surprise guest -- and we had saved two places to be able to ask someone from the Kentucky Derby, and so we have the jockey, Calvin Borel. So we're very thrilled to have him tonight and his girlfriend for the dinner, as well.

Let's see, you can see how beautiful the flowers are, and right here is the whole team that put all of this together -- Amy Zantzinger, who is our new social secretary, and she has initiation by fire, starting with the most elegant and most formal State Dinner that we'll host. And she's done a terrific job. Also, this is Admiral Steve Rochon. He's our new chief usher. And once again, this is his first State Dinner, and it's such a very, very important State Dinner. And he's done a terrific job. I hope you all will have a chance to get to know him.

Bill Yosses is our dessert chef, and he also -- well, you were here a year, you've been -- is it a year? No, just six months. And he's done a terrific job. And Nancy, our florist, Nancy Clarke that you all know. You've met her at all the Christmas previews and all the other previews. She's been here for many years, and once again, you can see her arrangements are just magnificent, and they're just so perfect and elegant, I think, for Her Majesty. And Cris Comerford, who is our executive chef. I know you all know Cris. And she's been here for a while, but fairly new as the chief chef, as the executive chef. And she's been fixing really, really wonderful food. And today's lunch was certainly that way, and I know tonight's dinner will be delicious, too. I don't know if you all have seen the menu cards. Have they -- do you know if they -- have you seen those? So you've seen what we're serving tonight.

So I think it will be a really beautiful dinner, and I want you all to be able to ask them anything you want to know about what all of them have done. I will tell you that we did have to talk the President into white tie. (Laughter.) He was not that -- Dr. Rice and I took it upon ourselves to talk him into it, because we thought if we were ever going to have a white tie event, this would be the one. And so he was glad to wear white tie. But I don't know about the rest of our guests, especially the ones from Texas. They're probably having to go out and rent theirs this afternoon. (Laughter.)

But anyway, it's going to be a very fun and festive evening, and we're so happy to have this opportunity. It's really a huge privilege to have the opportunity to entertain Her Majesty, and to underscore how important our relationship is and has been through our whole history with Great Britain, and what a staunch ally Great Britain is of ours and how much we appreciate it.

So I guess that's it, unless Sally thinks of something else I didn't tell. So I'll let you all take over with all the people who actually did all the work and put all this together. And doesn't it look so pretty?

Thanks everybody. Thank you all.

END 2:32 P.M. EDT

*The State Dinner was held in 1991.

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