Kissinger’s enduring friendship with Queen Elizabeth II: Late monarch gave America’s premier diplomat an honorary knighthood in 1995 and he paid tribute to her as a ‘great sovereign who ennobled her society’ when she died
Henry Kissinger had a long and enduring friendship with Queen Elizabeth, which began while he worked in the White House and lasted until her death in 2022.
That friendship culminated in June 1995 when Kissinger, who died Wednesday at his home in Connecticut at the age of 100, became one of the few non-British citizens to receive an honorary knighthood.
“It is because of his long-standing commitment to Anglo-American relations and we felt he should be honored for his contribution,” a State Department spokesperson said at the time.
While at the time of the queen’s death, Kissinger referred to her majesty in a letter as a “great sovereign who ennobled society.”
Despite the knighthood, Kissinger was not a ‘Sir’ nor did he have to kneel before her majesty, as is the convention. Honorary knighthoods are awarded to non-British citizens.
His official appointment was as an honorary Knight Commander of the Most Distinguished Order of St Michael and St George, which allowed him to include the initials KCMG at the end of his name.
Queen Elizabeth II pictured with the Duke of Edinburgh, next to Nancy and Henry Kissinger at the White House in 1976
At the time of this meeting between Her Majesty and Kissinger in 1991, he told the Washington Post that the royal family decides on the topic of conversation
The day after he was awarded his honorary knighthood, Kissinger was the guest of Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh at Royal Ascot
Kissinger first met the Queen in July 1976 when Her Majesty and Prince Philip were guests of honor at a state dinner hosted by President Gerald Ford at the White House.
Kissinger, Her Majesty and the Duke of Edinburgh were jokingly pictured together at a reception.
When Her Majesty returned to the US for a state visit in 1991, Kissinger told the newspaper WashingtonPost about the protocol for conversations with heads of state at meetings like these.
“The protocol is that she chooses the subject,” he said.
Kissinger was also a fan of King Charles III. A 1970 memo showed that President Richard Nixon and Kissinger made every effort to get Charles to visit in 1970, a visit that “could do enormous good for American-British relations,” the note said.
In 1997, Kissinger and his wife Nancy attended the funeral of Princess Diana.
Today, British Foreign Secretary David Cameron called Kissinger a “great statesman” who will be “dearly missed.” While former Prime Minister Tony Blair paid tribute to ‘an artist’ of diplomacy.
“Most saddened to hear that Henry Kissinger has passed away,” Cameron wrote on X, formerly Twitter.
“He was a great statesman and a deeply respected diplomat who will be greatly missed on the world stage.”
Kissinger pays tribute to Queen Elizabeth II at the Nixon Library following her death in 2022
The condolence note Kissinger wrote in 2022
In a memo to Kissinger, President Richard Nixon called Charles the “true gem” in the family
The former prime minister said he met Kissinger “a few months ago” when the pair discussed Iran, Russia and the war in Ukraine.
“Even at the age of 100, his wisdom and thoughtfulness shone through,” Cameron added.
“There’s no one like Henry Kissinger,” Blair said.
‘I was in awe of him. If it is possible that diplomacy, at its highest level, can be a form of art, then Henry was an artist.’
Blair defended Kissinger’s approach to world affairs.
“Like anyone who has faced the most difficult problems of international politics, he has at times been criticized and even denounced,” he said.