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Elizabeth II

Every time the Queen visited Berlin (kind of)

Her Majesty the Queen made 5 official state visit to Berlin in her lifetime, including one at the same time as the band Queen. We look back across some truly aristocratic moments.

27 May 1965: The first visit


The Queen, accompanied by her husband (*cough* cousin) The Duke of Edinburgh, visited Germany from 18 to 28 May 1965. This was the first time a British monarch had visited Germany since 1913, when King George V attended the wedding of Princess Victoria of Prussia in 1913.

(Her uncle, who was King-for-a-bit before he abdicated, visited Germany in 1937… but perhaps it’s better not to talk about that).

The aim of the visit was promoting reconciliation between the UK and Germany, and more than a million people lined the streets to see her. She spent just a few hours in West Berlin. Check out this footage taken at the time (and watch out for the bitchy comment at 00:27). 

26 May 1978: Queen vs Queen

The Queen inspects the guard of honour at R.A.F. Gatow on her arrival in Berlin. Photo: IMAGO / ZUMA/Keystone

The Queen’s second state visit to Germany saw her again spend time in West Berlin. This time, the Queen’s visit coincided with a tour by the band Queen, which makes you wonder if anyone asked for directions and got sent to the wrong show. Which crowd would you rather have been in? 

19–23 October 1992: Germany, united again like cousins

The Queen also made it all the way out to Potsdam! Photo: IMAGO / teutopress

On her first visit since reunification, Her Majesty walked through the Brandenburg Gate, which had long been a symbol of the East/West division. 

The queen and her husband, Prince Philip, placed yellow roses on the tomb of Victoria, German Empress and Queen of Prussia, AKA Princess Vicky, the oldest daughter of Queen Victoria and the mother of the last German Kaiser, William II. So that’s her great-aunt and also his great-aunt. Cool and normal! 

Her first visit to the eastern bloc and it wasn’t as well received as she might have hoped. Leipzig was fairly happy to see her, but her reception in Dresden was outright icy. I wonder what reason that city might have had to bear a grudge?

2–4 November 2004: Strained relations

Phillip seems to have a problem with the red carpet. Photo: IMAGO / PEMAX

The end of the 90s were a busy time for Her Majesty. After REDACTED, she didn’t have time to make it back to Berlin for a state visit until 2004, and she found the city a changed place. 

She ate dinner in a room regularly used by Adolph Hitler (her uncle, as we’ve mentioned, was a big fan), and German newspapers argued about whether she should issue a formal apology for the Allied destruction via aerial bombing of cities like Dresden during World War II. 

This visit came at a tricky time for UK-German relations, with London supporting the Iraq War which Berlin opposed. But Elizabeth didn’t indicate on which side of the debate her sympathies lay as she was greeted by German President Horst Koehler at the Charlottenburg castle.

This would have been the first chance Elizabeth got to visit Berghain, but, like her son Prince Andrew, she probably just went to a Pizza Express instead. 

23–26 June 2015: The twilight years

The royal couple had a lovely boat tour along the Spree. Photo: IMAGO / IPON

In what is now officially her last ever state visit, Her Majesty Elizabeth II, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith etc etc made it to Berlin in 2015. 

The official reception was at Schloss Bellevue. From there they took a boat tour all the way to the Reichstag to meet German Chancellor Angela Merkel, where they got into a heated argument about whether the downward-diamond or weird-pivot-wave was a more iconic hand gesture. 

The Queen was accompanied on her trip by the Duke of Edinburgh, with whom she is now reunited, at the very least, through a pair of awkward announcements on the radio. In their honour, we present them both: Phillip and Elizabeth. RIP.

***NOTE – any real monarchy heads will know there were two other visits, in 1987 and 2000, but they weren’t official state visits. Keep up the good work guys.