It was 1991. George H.W. Bush was president, and it was time for Her Royal Majesty Queen Elizabeth II to watch the Orioles play baseball at Memorial Stadium.
Her visit, according to The Baltimore Sun, drove huge ticket sales at Memorial Stadium and well-meaning residents flooded the phone lines at City Hall, asking to meet the royals or to offer them a song, or flowers.
The royals and the Bushes waved to the crowd for about 30 seconds, according to United Press International. They left after the second inning. The Orioles did not win. The queen did not eat anything during a reception before the game, according to the UPI report — but she did enjoy a Beefeater martini.
Journalist Luke Russert tweeted that his earliest memory of Queen Elizabeth II was her visit to Memorial Stadium.
Elizabeth visits College Park
While it was the queen’s only visit to Baltimore, it was not her only time in Maryland. In 1957, the queen and her husband Prince Philip watched as the University of Maryland Terrapins football team beat the North Carolina Tar Heels in a 21-7 upset. It was her first visit to the United States as queen. She had specifically requested the chance to see an American football game, according to The Washington Post.
According to the University of Maryland Archives, the campus went to great lengths to prepare for the royal visit, including construction of a special box where the queen and her guests watched the game. Elizabeth was interested in the differences between American football and rugby, and was driven around the track as the school bands played.
The queen left shortly before the game ended in order to have dinner with President Dwight D. Eisenhower — and to beat traffic.
The queen and NASA
Fifty years later, the queen would be back on this side of the Atlantic, and once again spent time in Maryland. She and her husband visited the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt and spoke with astronauts aboard the International Space Station.
Were you in Baltimore when Queen Elizabeth came to town? Or maybe you were part of the crowd that greeted her in Greenbelt? If you’ve got a Baltimore or Maryland-related memory of the queen, we’d love to hear it. Send me an email or reach out on Twitter and we might include your memories and photos in this story.