From left, Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II; President Ronald Reagan; the queen’s husband, Prince Philip; and first lady Nancy Reagan pause for a photo opportunity at the Santa Barbara Airport during the royals’ 1983 visit to the South Coast. (Ronald Reagan Presidential Library & Museum photo)

Thirty-one years ago, during a driving rainstorm on March 1, 1983, the Queen of England, Elizabeth II, and her husband, Prince Philip, arrived at the Santa Barbara Airport in Air Force One to attend a state visit to meet President Ronald Reagan and his wife, Nancy, at the Western White House.

The aircraft and the reception were held in an airport hangar due to the torrents of rain. The afternoon was spent on a harrowing jeep ride up Refugio Canyon and its swollen streams west of Santa Barbara to the Reagans’ Rancho del Cielo.

At the rustic ranch, tacos were the lunch fare of the day and a good time was had by all inside the Reagans’ low-slung house.

Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, who was married to the queen for 68 years, died at Windsor Castle in England on April 9 at age 99. His grandson, Prince Harry, and his wife and their son live in Montecito.

Reagan, who served two terms as president as well as two terms as governor of California, died at his Los Angeles home in 2004 at age 93. Nancy Reagan died in 2016 at age 94. Both Reagans are buried next to each other on the grounds of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library & Museum, at 40 Presidential Drive in Simi Valley.

— Justin Ruhge is a Lompoc resident and historian. The opinions expressed are his own.