Heroes and Heroines:
David O. McKay:
A Visit with the Queen

By Susan Arrington Madsen

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(Based on the author’s book, The Lord Needed a Prophet, pages 149–150).Stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in (Mosiah 18:9).

While President David O. McKay served as prophet, seer, and revelator of the Church, he traveled over a million miles throughout the world. He enjoyed meeting with Saints in other countries, and he made friends for the Church among many government leaders.

On one trip in 1952, President McKay and his wife, Emma, were invited to visit with Queen Juliana of the Netherlands in the Soestdijk Palace. During that visit, the McKays showed how they were able to make friends without sacrificing their religious beliefs.

The queen had scheduled half an hour for the visit with President and Sister McKay. The President carefully watched the time. When the half hour was up, he politely thanked the queen and began to leave. “Mr. McKay,” she said, “sit down! I have enjoyed this thirty minutes more than I have enjoyed any thirty minutes in a long time. I just wish you would extend your visit a little longer.”

After more persuasion from her, he sat down again. At that point, a coffee table was wheeled in, and the queen poured three cups of tea, pushing one each to President and Sister McKay. When neither of the McKays began to stir their tea, the queen asked, “Won’t you have a little tea with the queen?”

President McKay politely explained that Latter-day Saints did not believe in drinking stimulants and that they believed tea to be a stimulant.

The queen was very surprised! “I am the queen of the Netherlands,” she said. “Do you mean to tell me you won’t have a little drink of tea, even with the queen of the Netherlands?”

To this, President McKay politely asked, “Would the queen of the Netherlands ask the leader of one million, three hundred thousand people* to do something that he teaches his people not to do?”

The queen smiled and sat back in her chair. “You are a great man, President McKay,” she told him. “I wouldn’t ask you to do that.”

Illustrated by Paul Mann

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  • The number of Church members at that time.