Barack Obama Remembers First Trip to Buckingham to Meet Queen Elizabeth: 'Your Life Has Been a Gift'

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Barack Obama (C) speaks at an event at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow on November 8, 2021, during the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference. - The COP26 climate talks resuming Monday have so far unfolded on parallel planes, with high-level announcements stage-managed by host country Britain during week one riding roughshod over a laborious UN process built on consensus among nearly 200 countries.
Barack Obama (C) speaks at an event at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow on November 8, 2021, during the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference. - The COP26 climate talks resuming Monday have so far unfolded on parallel planes, with high-level announcements stage-managed by host country Britain during week one riding roughshod over a laborious UN process built on consensus among nearly 200 countries.

Ben Stansall/AFP via Getty Barack Obama

Barack Obama is celebrating the life and legacy of Queen Elizabeth, who is being honored for her historic 70 years on the throne with a four-day Platinum Jubilee celebration.

In remarks that aired on a Thursday morning BBC broadcast during Trooping the Colour, the 60-year-old former president reflected on his first meeting with the Queen, noting that he and his wife, former first lady Michelle Obama, didn't quite know what to expect.

"When you're president of the United States, you meet a lot of remarkable people," he said. "And you try under all circumstances to maintain composure. But that's harder than you think when you're visiting Her Majesty."

RELATED: Barack Obama Pays Tribute to 'Remarkable' Prince Philip as He Reflects on Their First Meeting

He continued: "We weren't sure what to expect on our first trip to Buckingham. But we shouldn't have been worried. Her Majesty put us at east with her grace and generosity. So much so that I walked away thinking she actually reminded me a little bit of my grandmother."

Queen Elizabeth II, US President Barack Obama, US First Lady Michelle Obama and Prince Philip
Queen Elizabeth II, US President Barack Obama, US First Lady Michelle Obama and Prince Philip

JOHN STILLWELL/AFP via Getty Queen Elizabeth II, US President Barack Obama, US First Lady Michelle Obama and Prince Philip

In the years since that meeting, Obama said that he and the Queen "have formed a special relationship of our own," a nod to the "special relationship" between the UK and the US.

"Certainly I can say that getting to know her was one of the great privileges of my years in office," Obama added.

For more on the Queen's Platinum Jubilee, listen below to our daily podcast PEOPLE Every Day.

In closing his remarks, Obama offered a message to the Queen: "Your Majesty, it would be an understatement to say the world has changed a bit in the seven decades since you first came to power. But your character never has."

"Your life has been a gift — not just to the United Kingdom, but to the world. And it is with gratitude for your leadership and the kindness that you've shown me and my family that I say, may the light of your crown continue to reign supreme."

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Obama also reflected on that first meeting with the Queen following the April 2021 death of her late husband, Prince Philip.

"When we first met His Royal Highness Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, he and Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II had already been on the world stage for more than half a century — welcoming leaders like Churchill and Kennedy; Mandela and Gorbachev," Obama said in his statement. "As two Americans unaccustomed to palaces and pomp, we didn't know what to expect."

He added that the Queen and Prince Philip turned a "ceremonial occasion into something far more natural, even comfortable. Prince Philip in particular was kind and warm, with a sharp wit and unfailing good humor. It was our first introduction to the man behind the title, and in the years since, our admiration for him has only grown. We will miss him dearly."