Meeting Royalty

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Woodrow and Edith Wilson with the British Royal Family, 1918: Cary T. Grayson Papers, WWPL: Staunton, VA

After the end of World War I, President Wilson traveled to Europe in order to be involved in the negotiations of the Paris Peace Conference, ultimately producing the Treaty of Versailles in 1919. However, he first traveled to London, England and met with the British Royal family.

Along with Mrs. Wilson, the President met with King George V, Queen Mary, and the Princess Royal . Together they discussed the upcoming conference and celebrated the holiday season together.On December 31, 1918, the King and Queen accompanied the President and Mrs. Wilson to the train station to go to Dover. Before they left, the Wilson’s and the British Royal Family took a picture together and our library has an exact copy of it.

From left to right stands Edith Bolling Galt Wilson, Queen Elizabeth, President Wilson, King George VI, and Princess Mary with each of their signatures underneath their pictures.

One of the most interesting parts of this picture is of Wilson’s trousers. In the hurry of getting ready to depart and take the picture, the bottom of one of the president’s trousers was failed to be turned down. The picture shows of the pant leg having a cuff turned up and the other one turned down. Another picture was taken of just Wilson and the King and it too showed the amusing incident.

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Woodrow Wilson and King George V, 1918: Cary T. Grayson Papers, Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library: Staunton, VA.

Dr. Cary T. Grayson, who also accompanied the Wilson’s on the trip, wrote of the picture being taken and the pant incident in diary. Grayson wrote that the “British people, once the picture was published, felt very kindly towards the President and there were a number of editorial comments that this little freak of dress showed how little the president cared for personal appearances , and it strengthened him with people generally when the picture was printed. It made a particular hit with the men in the street.”

Dr. Grayson’s account and other documents can be viewed in the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library’s Digital Library here.

Post written by WWPL intern Hayley Moore.

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