With war looming, FDR searched for ways to bolster ties with democratic nations opposing Hitler. When he invited England's King George VI for a state visit in June 1939, the message was clear. No reigning British monarch had ever visited America. The invitation signaled a new era in Anglo-American cooperation.
FDR and ER planned every detail to ensure the King won sympathy and support. Their efforts paid off. The public heartily welcomed the King and Queen in Washington. The royals visited Mount Vernon, where the King laid a wreath at George Washington's grave. Later, they accompanied the Roosevelts to Hyde Park, where they enjoyed simple American pleasures, including a hot dog picnic. FDR and King George developed a real rapport. More important, press coverage of the royal visit fostered public sympathy with Britain.