Elizabeth II always treated Russian with warmness and respect and she was in some way related to Russia. The Queen was the grandniece of Nicholas II, Russia’s last tsar. He was a cousin of Elizabeth’s grandfather, King George V. And they looked incredibly alike.
A portrait of Nicholas II of Russia (left) and George V of Great BritainLibrary of Congress/Corbis/VCG/Getty Images
During World War II, the UK and its Arctic Convoys fought with the Soviet Union against the Nazis.
In 1961, after Yury Gagarin’s legendary spaceflight Elizabeth II welcomed him in London. In 2021, she shared her impressions of their meeting, saying that he was very charming, although he couldn’t speak English at all.
This is how Gagarin himself recalled the meeting: “I had breakfast with the queen at Buckingham Palace. How about that! The queen was very courteous and well-mannered. We talked about the weather, about space and about my impressions. I talked to [Prince Philip] about aviation and new cars… I gave the queen a book. She was very happy. In return, she presented me with a family photo.”
Unfortunately, there are no photos of them together left. However, there is a photo of Gagarin entering the Tower of London.
In 1967, in the midst of the Cold War the Queen welcomed the Chairman of the USSR Council of Ministers, Alexei Kosygin and his wife in London.
While, in 1970, Soviet Oscar-winning film director Sergei Bondarchuk was honored to attend a reception of Her Majesty in London.
The Soviet government and Communist Party delegation went on an official visit to Great Britain in 1989, warmly welcomed by Queen Elizabeth II. Below, she is pictured with then General Secretary of the CPSU Central Committee Mikhail Gorbachev (center), who also passed away recently.
In 1991, they met again during the G7 summit in London.
Elizabeth’s one and only visit to Russia was in 1994. She was welcomed in the airport with a guard of honor.
The Queen had a meeting with the first Russian president, Boris Yeltsin.
The Queen also had an excursion to the Moscow Kremlin.
And visited the Kremlin’s cathedrals.
She also walked around on the Red Square and in central Moscow.
She even met the Patriarch Alexis II of the Russian Orthodox Church, then recently revived after years of Soviet anti-religious policy.
And the Queen also laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier near the Kremlin Wall commemorating victims of World War II, where the UK and Russia fought together againts the Nazis.
Elizabeth also managed to visit St. Petersburg. Pictured below in front of the crowds welcoming her in St. Peter and Paul fortress.
She visited St. Petersburg’s Catholic church and had a meeting with the local orphan kids.
In 2003, the Queen and her spouse Prince Philipp welcomed Russian President Vladimir Putin in London.
There was a reception in Buckingham Palace in honor of Russian President Vladimir Putin, on a state visit to the United Kingdom.
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