The Queen met with Mr Armstrong in 1969 after his successful Apollo 11 mission, which saw him become the first man to ever walk on the moon. Mr Armstrong and his wife went to Buckingham Palace on invitation from the monarch 51 years ago yesterday as part of the Apollo 11 crews’ world tour. Reports suggest the Queen viewed sending a letter to the moon landing crew was a “gimmick”, but still sent her best wishes.
Mr Armstrong, along with Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins, were greeted by the Queen and Prince Phillip at the palace.
The American visitors viewed the occasion as “delightfully memorable”, but Mr Armstrong had less fond memories due to a royal faux pas.
When recalling his meeting with the monarch, he claimed his wife insisted he go to the palace despite having a bad cold.
Mr Armstrong said: “She told me that if I had to be embalmed, we were going to the palace. She wanted to see the place.”
READ MORE: Queen’s special relationship: Buzz Aldrin shares private pic with Queen from 51 years ago
Paul Haney, NASA announcer, wrote in his book That Silent Sea Mr Armstrong coughed in the monarchs face just as he was about to leave.
According to Mr Haney, the group was leaving after “meeting the little Princes and Princesses and sipping white wine for maybe an hour”.
He wrote: “She knew he had a cold. He tried to say something like, ‘Thanks – we had a great time.’ Instead, he coughed in her face.
“Mortified, he again tried to mouth an apology and hit her in the face with another cough. She held up both hands in surrender.”
But before the moon landing took place, the Queen was said to be reluctant to send a message to the astronauts.
Records at the National Archives showed Michael Adeane, then the Queen’s private secretary, said the monarch would send a letter to NASA.
But he added in a memo: “Her Majesty agrees that this idea is a gimmick and it is not the sort of thing she much enjoys doing but she certainly would not wish to appear churlish by refusing an invitation which is so obviously well intentioned.”
The Queen’s message to the crew said: “On behalf of the British people, I salute the skills and courage which have brought man to the moon.
“May this endeavour increase the knowledge and well-being of mankind.”
The Royal Family has remained linked to NASA and the Apollo 11 crew.
The Queen met Mr Aldrin again in 2006 at the 50th anniversary of the Duke of Edinburgh’s award.
reported in 2011 Prince Harry was “obsessed with space” and wanted to be an astronaut.
They quoted a royal source who said: “Harry has already completed his studies of Land and Sea Surveillance and Oceanology–part of Astro training–and can’t wait to get into one of NASA’s T38 training jets.”