The controversial kiss between the Queen Mother and this president that shocked the world

The Queen Mother's controversial kiss with this former US president shocked the world and was labeled a 'scandalous blunder'

The Queen Mother's controversial kiss with this former US President shocked the world and was labeled a 'scandalous blunder'
(Image credit: Photo by Georges De Keerle/Getty Images)

The Queen Mother's controversial kiss with a former US president shocked the press at the time and has continued to be labeled as a 'scandalous blunder' as Her Majesty' first kiss on the lips since her husband died.


It has been widely reported that Jimmy Carter once gave the Queen Mother a kiss on the lips when they met in May 1977. The incident reportedly took place at Buckingham Palace during a presidential visit with both royals and NATO leaders in attendance for dinner.

Apparently, when greetings were exchanged and it was the president's turn to say hello, Mr. Carter declined to bow and instead kissed the Queen Mother on her cheek - although she claimed that he aimed a little lower than that!

"He is the only man, since my dear husband died, to have had the effrontery to kiss me on the lips,” the Queen Mother told her biographer, according to The Guardian. The Queen Mother reportedly also recalled how she "took a sharp step backwards… Not quite far enough,” the Mirror reported.

However, the former president maintains that the kiss was given just "lightly on the cheek" as the pair said goodnight after dinner.

Queen Mother's controversial kiss

(Image credit: Universal History Archive / Contributor / Getty Images)

President Carter's side of the story maintains that he only kissed the Queen Mother on the cheek, and while this is still not adhering to royal protocol, it's not quite as scandalous as a peck on the lips.

In Jimmy Carter's autobiography, A Full Life: Reflections at Ninety, he said that he was mortified by the way he was portrayed by the British press and couldn't believe that the incident was still being reported on years later. 

"More than two years later, there were reports in the British papers that grossly distorted this event, stating that I had deeply embarrassed her with excessive familiarity,” Carter wrote. “I was distressed by these reports, but couldn’t change what had happened — nor did I regret it.”

While the Queen Mother may have been surprised by this level of familiarity, the photos taken at the time paint a rather cozy picture as the pair were even holding hands at one point - indicating that they got along rather well.

Queen Mother

(Image credit: Getty Images)

As the stories from each party differ, it is likely that the public will never really know what sort of kiss the President gave the Queen Mother all those years ago. 

Sadly, the Queen Mother died in 2002 at the age of 101. While Jimmy Carter is 98 years old and still alive, he has recently entered hospice care and a recent statement revealed, he has, "decided to spend his remaining time at home with his family and receive hospice care instead of additional medical intervention."

Laura Harman

Laura is a news writer for woman&home who primarily covers entertainment and celebrity news. Laura dabbles in lifestyle, royal, beauty, and fashion news, and loves to cover anything and everything to do with television and film. She is also passionate about feminism and equality and loves writing about gender issues and feminist literature.


Laura loves drinking and eating and can often be found trying to get reservations at London's trendiest restaurants. When she's not wining and dining, Laura can also be found travelling, baking, and hiking with her dog.