Since the death of Queen Elizabeth was announced last week, Greenbelt’s Facebook groups and pages have been flooded with remembrances that Greenbelters have with seeing the Queen or other close members of her family, including her visits to towns in Prince George’s County and Greenbelt itself! Here’s what we know so far and if you have other examples, please leave them in a comment and I’ll add them to this round-up. (I’ll fill in more names if other commenters give me permission.)
Queen Elizabeth Visited NASA Goddard in 2007
From the NASA Goddard website:
Queen Elizabeth II, Britain’s longest-reigning monarch, died on Sept. 8, 2022 at age 96. Her reign spanned all of spaceflight, predating both Sputnik and Explorer 1. As NASA joins the planet in marking her passing, we are moved by the curiosity The Queen showed our explorers over the years.
In this photo, Queen Elizabeth II greets employees on her walk from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center mission control to a reception in the center’s main auditorium, Tuesday, May 8, 2007, in Greenbelt, Md. Queen Elizabeth II and her husband, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, visited the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center as one of the last stops on their six-day United States visit.
Here’s how close Kevin Parker got to the Queen during her visit. He wrote:
I remember having to show up at the crack of dawn to be allowed on the campus. And because my office was in the vicinity, I had the choice of spending the morning either outdoors or hunkered in my office – we weren’t allowed to wander around anywhere near where she was going to be.In the photo Building 3 is in the background as she walked from Building 13 to Building 8. My office was in one of the buildings she was visiting, which is why I would have been stuck there.
I also still work at GSFC and the preparation for their arrival started weeks in advance and then the day of was amazing. They split up for about 1.5 hours and Prince Phillip toured building 029 because we were told he wanted to see the HST hardware that was being prepared for the last Hubble servicing mission in 2009. The entire STS-109 astronaut crew was there to greet him at the top of the steps, by our clean room viewing window and I was amazed at the technical questions he asked. So I got to see Prince Phillip as he toured our Integration and Test facility complex and caught a glimpse of the queen when they were back together at our visitor center. It was a beautiful day and one I remember as if it was yesterday.
And a Goddard employee recalled getting some “very close-up pictures” of the queen and Prince Phillip.
Perhaps most exciting was one Greenbelter who remembered that her daughter, who was doing a research practicum for Eleanor Roosevelt HS at Goddard, was asked to present a poster she’d created to the queen.
Queen Attended UMD Football Game and Visited Hyattsville Grocery Store
Check out these photos of queen’s football game
Queen Elizabeth II took her first visit to the U.S. as a monarch in 1957. During her stay in the States, and being 31 at the time, she attended a college football game. The game was an underdog Maryland team against the University of North Carolina.The Terrapins upset the Tar Heels that afternoon with The Queen in attendance. Later that day, Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip stopped in Hyattsville because of a keen interest in frozen chicken pot pies at a grocery store.
From “Queen up in Aisle 4” by WETA in which we learn that she was interested in far more than pot pies!
On the afternoon of Oct. 19, the royal party attended the University of Maryland football game where they watched the Terps trounce North Carolina, 21-7. On their way back to the White House they stopped in at the supermarket at the Queen’s request. Acting Assistant Manager Donald A. D’avanzo led them on a tour as surprised customers gawked and trailed behind.
The royal encounter made for a memorable afternoon for all involved as D’avanzo told the Washington Post:
“I’ll never forget it. It was the greatest thing that ever happened to me. I can’t even eat my dinner. I knew Phillip was behind us on the tour but I was concentrating on the Queen so much that I hardly saw him until he left. I was so amazed and scared.”
The royal visitors seemed particularly fascinated by the selection of non-grocery items in the store, which included toiletries, school supplies, and Halloween costumes. They were also intrigued by the fact that customers could select their own items in the store and pay up front. What a novel concept!
Queen Sightings Abroad
Photographing Queen During 1991 DC Visit
Seeing Now-King Charles during his 2011 Visit to DC
The DC community garden was and is Common Good City Farm, which continues to thrive today. Based in the LeDroit Park area of DC, it was founded in 2007 with a strong commitment to equity. I was on the board at that time, and I was there during the Prince’s visit. The farm has a CSA program, a youth and adult education programs. At that time, our summer program for youth was a 6-week program where the youth worked on the farm and on Fridays a DC chef opened their kitchen to the youth to make a community lunch composed of veggies from the garden.
It was an honor to have the then-Prince visit…Please take time to visit the Farm’s website to learn more about this wonderful community-building program.
Prince Phillip Visited WWF Headquarters
Lynne Hardie wrote, “I met HRH Prince Philip many years ago when he came to Washington, DC to visit the US headquarters of World Wildlife Fund (WWF). He was the International President of the organization and I worked at WWF.”
Btw, I couldn’t find anything online about that visit so can’t report on the year.