"Eagleburger emphasized how much the president himself wanted to go to London," stresses one confidential memo from the British ambassador, referring to senior U.S. diplomat Lawrence Eagleburger. "There should be no doubt about that. Eagleburger also said that at the moment the Germans were not America's favorite allies."
The prospect of a chance to relax from international summitry with a bit of horseback riding with the queen seems to have helped carry the day for the Brits. Asked for the president's favorite type of horse, British planners are told simply that he wants a thoroughbred. He ended up riding Centennial, one of the queen's favorites, and wearing a perfectly fitted sports jacket above his sweater, going for an old-time Hollywood look he carried off with ease.
Much of the actual visit was devoted to pomp and pageantry, or to relaxation, but Reagan did make one speech of consequence. He became the first American president to address a meeting of both houses of Parliament and used the occasion to trumpet his distaste for the Soviet Union, calling it an economic catastrophe.
He said Marxism-Leninism would be left on the ash heap of history — a prediction that would come to pass in the following decade.