With a playful grin, the queen opened a dinner toast yesterday to the president saying: ''I wondered whether I should start this toast by saying, 'When I was here in 1776...''' The 104 guests invited to the black-tie gathering at the home of British ambassador David Manning erupted in laughter. Bush laughed along and the queen smiled broadly before continuing with her text.
''Your Majesty, I can't top that one,'' Bush reciprocated, at the beginning of his toast.
The president, no stranger to the occasional verbal gaffe, just barely stopped himself on Monday before dating the queen to 1776.
''You've helped our nation celebrate its bicentennial in 17 in 1976,'' Bush said at a White House ceremony as he noted the queen's long history of dealing with successive US governments.
Yesterday's dinner was the last formal event on the final day of a six-day State visit for the queen and Prince Phillip, that included ceremonies marking the 400th anniversary of the British settlement in Jamestown, Virginia, the Kentucky Derby.
For the event, the queen wore a gold lace cocktail dress and a Brazilian aquamarine and diamond necklace with matching earrings. She said she enjoyed the chance to dwell on the history and friendship between the United States and Britain and thanked Americans for a warm welcome.
''I would also like to take this opportunity, on the day that has seen the formal transfer of power to the devolved Northern Ireland government, to thank you and your predecessors for your contribution to bringing peace in Northern Ireland,'' she said, noting the US role in bringing about the historic peace agreement.
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