In the days following George H.W. Bush’s passing on November 30, 2018, tributes have continued to pour in from those wanting to share their respects for the former president and World War II veteran. One of the most bittersweet examples came from Bush’s service dog, Sully, who was photographed lying down beside his owner’s casket. Sully joined Bush’s family back in June of this year and remained loyal to the very end.
Outside of the animal world, Bush’s family and friends have reached out with somber messages of condolences and remembrances. Queen Elizabeth, who bestowed knighthood on Bush in 1993, issued a statement after hearing the news:
It was with sadness that I learned of the death of President George H.W. Bush. President Bush was a great friend and ally of the United Kingdom. He was also a patriot, serving his country with honor and distinction in Office and during the Second World War. Prince Philip and I remember our days in Texas in 1991 with great fondness. My thoughts and prayers are with President Bush’s family and the American people.
Bush is one of only three presidents to be given the honor of knighthood. He joined Ronald Reagan with a Knight Grand Cross of the Most Honorable Order of the Bath (GCB), which is the highest honorary rank that Britain can bestow upon a foreigner. Dwight D. Eisenhower was given the same knighthood by Elizabeth’s father, King George VI, along with the Order of Merit. Like other non-British citizens, each of these former presidents weren’t required to kneel during their ceremonies and did not take on the titles of “Sir.” It’s an impressively exclusive group for the three men to be in, considering Elizabeth has met every sitting president (minus Lyndon B. Johnson) since ascendning to the throne in 1952.
As she mentioned in her message, Elizabeth and Philip also paid a visit to Texas during Bush’s presidency in 1991. According to an AP News report at the time, she was the first ever British monarch to visit the Lone Star State. Bush also hosted the royals at the White House and brought them to a Baltimore Orioles baseball game. It’s clear the two formed a meaningful friendship that lasted throughout the years.