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Queen Elizabeth: A Recollection

Queen Elizabeth walks among the crowds on Wall Street during her visit to New York City, 9 July 1976. (Credit: Besheer family photo)

On July 9, 1976, Queen Elizabeth and her husband, Prince Philip the Duke of Edinburgh, visited New York City as part of the national bicentennial celebrations.

The day before her visit there was a picture of her on the front page of the New York Times. She was wearing her uniform of dress, pearls and hat. At the time, I was a little girl and my mother showed me the picture. She said, "This is the Queen of England."

"She's the queen?" I asked. "Where is her crown?"

"She doesn't always wear it," my mother explained. "Only on special occasions. When she goes out she wears a hat instead."

I was unimpressed and told my mother so. So she said she would take me the next day to see Her Majesty, and perhaps I would change my mind.

So the next day, off we went from our home in Brooklyn, taking the subway to Wall Street, where a multitude of people packed the flag-and-bunting draped streets. People were waving American and British flags, and the mood was quite festive.

I was patriotically attired in a white cotton dress that had a blue and red checked sailboat appliqué on the front. I wore a white, first-mate's hat, which I had gotten during a class trip to the amusement park. My name was emblazoned on it in true 1970s style -- in green glitter glue.

Queen Elizabeth II gives a speech on Wall Street, 9 July 1976
Queen Elizabeth II gives a speech on Wall Street, 9 July 1976

The Queen and Prince Philip made their way up Wall Street working the crowd on what is known as a "walkabout". Suddenly, Prince Philip, tall and striking, was in front of me. "Hello there Margaret!" he said, reading my hat. I don't recall what, or if, I replied. A moment later, the queen was before us, smiling and looking elegant in a pale suit and straw hat. "Come along, Philip" she said.

And just like that they were gone into the throng, leaving one very excited little girl in their wake.