"Melania and I are deeply saddened to learn of the loss of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II," Trump wrote in a post on his social media site, Truth Social. "Together with our family and fellow Americans, we send our sincere condolences to the Royal Family and the people of the United Kingdom during this time of great sorrow and grief."
DOMINIC LIPINSKI/POOL/AFP via Getty President Donald Trump and Queen Elizabeth
Trump continued: "Queen Elizabeth's historic and remarkable reign left a tremendous legacy of peace and prosperity for Great Britain. Her leadership and enduring diplomacy secured and advanced alliances with the United States and countries around the world. However, she will always be remembered for her faithfulness to her country and her unwavering devotion to her fellow countrymen and women."
Chris Jackson/Getty From left: Melania Trump, Donald Trump, Queen Elizabeth
Months later, the former American first couple returned to Buckingham Palace for a NATO 70th anniversary reception hosted by the Queen.
In his statement released Thursday, Trump wrote that he and his wife would "always cherish our time together with the Queen, and never forget Her Majesty's generous friendship, great wisdom, and wonderful sense of humor."
"What a grand and beautiful lady she was—there was nobody like her!" Trump wrote. "Our thoughts and prayers will remain with the great people of the United Kingdom as you honor her most meaningful life and exceptional service to the people. May God bless the Queen, may she reign forever in our hearts, and may God hold her and Prince Philip in abiding care."
Chris Jackson/Getty Images Donald Trump, Queen Elizabeth
Former White House Russia advisor Fiona Hill wrote in her book, There Is Nothing For You Here: Finding Opportunity in the 21st Century, that Trump was "awestruck" by the Queen, and saw a meeting with her as a sign that he "had made it in life."
"Going to Buckingham Palace was supposed to be a highlight of his presidency," Hill wrote in the book, per Insider. "Meeting Queen Elizabeth II was particularly important to President Trump. He often referred in conversation to his mother, Mary Anne Mac-Leod, who was originally from Scotland, and her admiration for Queen Elizabeth."
Samir Hussein/WireImage Queen Elizabeth and President Trump
Trump, Hill wrote, was "always slightly awestruck when he talked about her—his voice and his face would soften. A meeting with the Queen of England was the ultimate sign that he, Trump, had made it in life."
In a June 2019 interview with Fox News, Trump said he had "such a great relationship" with the Queen, adding that the two were "laughing and having fun" during their first meeting.
Ahead of their first meeting, the former president called the Queen "incredible," telling The Sun: "I really look forward to meeting her. I think she represents her country so well. If you think of it, for so many years she has represented her country, she has really never made a mistake. You don't see, like, anything embarrassing. She is just an incredible woman."