June Call wood’s story of the Queen’s visit
One of Canada’s most brilliant reporters followed Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip through the exhausting tour that dazzled a continent. Here’s her perceptive behind-the-scenes report
Elizabeth, Queen of Canada, stepped off a plane in Ottawa last October 12 around tea time of a bright cool Indian summer day and departed well past midnight from a floodlit airport near New York City nine and a half days later. In the intervening two hundred and twenty-five hours and twenty minutes of her visit to North America, she slept about fifty-four hours— or an average nearly six in every twenty-four-—and spent the rest attending some fifty separate functions, few of which she could have enjoyed. She changed her clothes twenty-seven times and made sixteen
speeches. Her husband, Prince Philip, zealously establishing himself as an amateur scientist, dealt six times with separate matters, one of them duck shooting but almost all the others related to his hobby. They shook approximately ten thousand hands, at the rate of up to twenty a minute, heard God Save the Queen played with consistent excellence twenty-one times and were seen by about five million people along parade routes and by about fifty-six million more view'ers who followed their progress by television.
Specters and old prejudices continued over page
June CaUwood's story of the Queen's visit: continued
rFo the sixty million who watched her pass, Elizabeth seern&
How they saw Ihe Queen: Supreme Court justices. pages of the House of Commons. off-duty nursc~ and the jubilant crowds that'lined the streets of two nations welcomed Elizabeth with an even mixture of awe and joy.
lowered over the graceful receiving lines, the innocuous speeches, the brisk inspections of guards of honor. The Queen’s role in Canada, it appeared to some observers, hinged on calculated pageantry, just enough to warm the pride of Canadians who revere tradition and stateliness above state but not so much as to antagonize those who consider royalty a blindingly oif-color bauble in an age of lean fear. For Virginians marking the three hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the first English colony in the New World, near Williamsburg, she had the tightrope task of complimenting, without a trace of sarcasm, sons of the successful rebels who routed England’s armies. In Washington it was hoped she would warm the atmosphere of distrust that has long chilled the Flouse of Representatives toward all who speak with a British accent. In New York, she w'as expected to be a girlish gay tourist properly delighted by the towering skyline and eddies of ticker tape.
This w'as a woman, only thirty-one years old and frequently so tense w'ith anxiety that she moved like a rigid mechanical doll, w'ho did nothing wrong. At a time when criticism of the moat of snobbery that surrounds Buckingham Palace had reached a furor unprecedented in her lifetime, she kept a valiant dignity. Throughout her North American tour it was noted that she could not relax enough to be warmly charming, as her mother can, but neither did she choose haughtiness. While inexperience still paralyzes many of her public appearances, Elizabeth seemed to the people who saw her most often to be unmistakably lonely, w'hich won her sympathy; consecrated to something greater than herself, which made her awesome; and touched w'ith shy humor, which made her delightful.
The Queen had moments when, unwittingly, she was absurd. During her surprise visit to a supermarket outside Washington ("A surprise,” someone commented wryly, “to everyone but the State Department, the White House and assorted embassies”) Elizabeth examined a shopping cart with a small child secured in a folding seat. “How' nice that you can bring your children along,” she remarked kindly, innocently unaware that most sub-
lonely, consecrated and touched with sliy humor
urban shoppers, on a no-servant budget, simply have no alternative.
She had moments when the constricting composure she forces on herself resulted in unfortunately stiff attitudes. Viewing, in Washington's Children’s Hospital, a twelve-year-old girl who had broken a leg previously crippled by polio. Elizabeth observed casually, “Well, that's a bit ot bad luck. Two days before she had been a visitor to the fort of Jamestown, restored to resemble the original buildings erected in 1607 and staffed, for further auihenticity, by soldiers in Elizabethan costumes and giddy wigs of shoulder-length curls. I he Queen reviewed this comic-opera guard with a poker face, not pausing to speak to any of them and surpassingly unamused.
Elizabeth had another occasion when her face was almost sullen with boredom, during most of the two bitterly chilling hoars she watched a game of United States college football that Prince Philip had requested to see. Her dislike ot the whole proceedings was so acute that she couldn t raise even a flicker of expression at halftime when massed college bands played Rule Bntannia. She managed only a polite cool smile when the students in the stands opposite her flashed squares of cardboard that formed a vast Union Jack. (British reporters, thoroughly bewildered, shared her feelings. One middle-aged lady from a Glasgow newspaper cabled firmly: “The game was stopped halfway through for a commercial.”)
But during the second half of the game, which was between the colleges of Maryland and North Carolina, the Queen became infected with the jubilant enthusiasm of Governor Theodore McKeldin of Maryland, who sat. beside her and once slapped her blanket-draped knees heartily after a Maryland score. Chatting with the exultant governor, whose underdog team was winning. Elizabeth demonstrated a surprising grasp of what must have seemed to her in the beginning a chaos of muscle and bone. “That's a first down, 1 know' that,” she observed, accurately, at one point.
It was fortunate for international relations, at the inclusive sports-fan level, that the Queen rallied from her ennui. Life magazine had posted a student and professor from a deaf-mute school across the field and equipped them with powerful-lensed binoculars. They had practiced lip reading the Queen by studying kinescopes of her televised speech opening Canada's parliament. After the football game, they w'ere flown to New York along with film made by telescopic cameras to check their notes. The magazine ran a full page of the Queen's conversation, without explaining how it w'as obtained.
Elizabeth also was the central figure in several stunning tableaux that only high majesty could make memorable. One of the most moving occurred at the British Embassy in Washington, when officials of the Commonwealth embassies were invited to have coffee and liqueurs following a state dinner given by the Queen and Philip for President and Mrs. Eisenhower. The diplomats were ushered into a shimmering Fiberglas tent, constructed on the embassy lawn to protect some three thousand guests at
the previous afternoon's Commonwealth
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The pipes skirled and the Queen appeared. One guest, normally a skeptic, stopped breathing
reception. The grass floor had been covered with soft green rugs, wall to wall, the supporting poles were ringed with flowers, and fragile satin sofas furnished it. There was easy conversation in this extraordinary billowy-ccilinged drawing room
until a pipe major appeared at the top of the steps leading from the embassy building. He was followed, with stately slowness. by two pipers playing Over the Seas to Skye. For a heavy moment the archway behind them was empty, and then
the Queen arrived, glossy with satin and glittering white fire from her diamonds, on the arm of President Eisenhower. They stood motionless, brave and splendid images. One guest, a man normally given to skepticism, realized he had stop-
ped breathing. The Queen and President released the drama by moving, becoming people again.
Elizabeth had this same effect on the two hundred thousand people who watched her exit from the House of Commons in Ottawa, after reading the Speech from the Throne. She was driven away, dazzling in the pure warm sunlight, in an open carriage with footmen at her back. Before and behind her rode red-coated Mounties, pennants fluttering from their lances, on coal-black horses. She was wearing her jeweled coronation gown and a crown of diamonds; her husband, in an army uniform, sat tall beside her. The procession gave the effect of being both real and unreal, straight out of a bigbudget production of Cinderella and straight out of the spine that helps keep Englishmen proud.
The Queen turned hearts over again at Arlington Cemetery outside Washington, where she placed a wreath on the tomb of the soldier “known only to God” and another wreath at the foot of the Canadian Cross, which honors Americans who died with the Canadian forces in 1914 to 1918. The day was dull and drizzling, with a brooding quality that suited the occasion. The bugler sounded a silvery Taps when the first wreath was laid and Last Post and Reveille for the second. Elizabeth's small face was grave and there was genuine mourning in her movements. She gave an unexpected sense of new grief to what usually is as unremarkable an event on a dignitary’s agenda as laying a cornerstone.
Reporters and photographers who covered the entire tour, considered by all the most punishing assignment journalism has to offer, could not avoid comparing the Canadian reception, which was only lukewarm, with the United States reception, which was a blazing triumph. In Ottawa excursion trains from Montreal and Toronto arrived unfilled and the crowds that lined the route of her arrival were patchy. In Washington an estimated million people stood in the rain to watch her drive past on the day she arrived; three days later, when she and Philip drove fifty-five miles into Virginia to visit a private estate where they could look at horses, there were people waiting to see them almost every foot of the way. The couple returned to Washington that evening by air, and drew a bigger crowd at the airport than on their first ceremonious arrival.
There were other ungainly contrasts, possibly more meaningful than crowd counts, which might be a direct reflection of the disparity in population. In the United States, Elizabeth and Philip were given so many gifts that their transportation became a serious problem. President Eisenhower, in spite of the pressure of the rounds of golf and Sputnik, had found time to paint them a portrait of their son and also presented them with historical documents valued at half a million dollars. They were given silver spurs and riding crops by Virginians, a fine porcelain statue of Philip playing polo, a mutation mink coat valued at fifteen thousand dollars, toys for their children, silver replicas of a communion service used in 1661, a gold-plated model of the Empire State Building with a ruby on its tower, and an assortment of valuable volumes and paintings.
Canada's principal gift was a minor
painting. In addition the days preceding their arrival in Canada were marked by inhospitable bickerings about the cost of the visit, particularly the half a million dollars spent by the CBC. Workmen nailing up the four thousand yards of used bunting provided Ottawa by the federal government spiced their task with profanity.
A Canadian Institute of Public Opinion poll conducted in August had found only four out of every ten Canadians pleased with the news that Elizabeth would open parliament.
“Do you Canadians like this dame or don’t you?” asked a New York newspaperwoman, who had just returned from watching the Queen perform a ritual treeplanting at Government House. The public though unpublicized ceremony, the reporter announced, was attended by five Mounties, ten reporters, fifty cameramen, eight gardeners, four children and a dog.
It is possible that no event in Canada’s history has received coverage as extensive as that given the visit of Elizabeth and Philip. More than a thousand reporters, photographers and technicians were accredited in Ottawa (about three hundred and fifty of these from the CBC); thirteen hundred w'ere accredited in Washington and a thousand in New York. It was estimated that sixty million people in the United States—one in every three Americans—either saw the Queen on television or heard her on the radio; twelve million Canadians—or three in every four—either saw' or heard her. It was the first time Canadians had been linked coast to coast by television. (Vancouver’s Grey Cup game and the British Empire Games didn't reach the Maritimes.) Vancouver picked up live telecasts from Seattle, Washington, and the Maritimes from Portland. Maine—a service provided free by U. S. networks.
Famous faces, famous by-lines
"Ottawa isn't equipped to handle a journalist project of this scope," announced Andrew Ross, of the Department of External Affairs, at a press briefing held before the Queen’s arrival in Ottawa. He used a microphone to address reporters in a ballroom of the Chateau Laurier Hotel, which had been converted to a newsroom. Behind a hundred politely silenced typewriters were some famous faces and by-lines. Dorothy Kilgallen, panelist on TV’s What’s My Line?, was covering for the New York Journal-American; Bob Considine, former sportswriter and author of Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo, was writing a syndicated column for International News Service; Jinx Falkenburg, television and radio commentator, represented NBC; two of Canada’s best-known war correspondents, Ross Munro and Bill Boss, were present; prize-winning reporters Ken MacTaggart and Allan Kent, both of the Toronto Telegram, were veterans of previous royal tours. The most experienced royal tour writer in the room was Australia’s Anne Matheson. who observed during a television interview in Washington later that she has been on more royal tours than Prince Philip: she w'as in Africa with Elizabeth when the Queen, then an unmarried princess, celebrated her twenty-first birthday and has been along on every trip since. Almost unnoticed was the former mayor of Ottawa, Charlotte Whitton, attending the Queen's visit from behind a press badge instead of a chain of office. She writes a column for the Ottawa Citizen.
"No one ever conceived,” continued Andrew Ross at the initial press briefing, "of an event that would be covered by a thousand people when the Senate Chamber was built.” He then outlined a system
of preferential treatment and pooling that was to keep every succeeding press briefing in an uproar. At events that could be covered by only a few people, wire services would get first priority, in order of nationality. Canada was first, then Commonwealth outside Canada and then United States. Daily newspapers would come next, with a draw from a hat to determine which individual would attend, with the understanding that the winner would later "pool’’—that is, share—his information wuth the losers. Magazines were last.
Just outside the newsroom the CBC was rehearsing its televised coverage of the Queen's arrival. Monitor screens showed shoppers idling along the sidewalks. people boarding streetcars, empty front lawns. The commentators’ voices provided a curious contrast. “The excitement is gathering,” one was exclaiming, as the camera picked up a woman carrying groceries. "It doesn’t seem possible but the crowds are getting bigger . . . You can almost feel through this stone wall the sense of excitement.” Cameras showed placid traffic but the voice hustled
along. “Youngsters are sitting on their lathers’ shoulders and in some cases on their mothers' . . .” A CBC producer admitted that most of the spontaneoussounding commentary was carefully scripted in advance.
A stocky old man sat on the curb outside the Chateau Laurier and with a brush and pail of water, patiently scrubbed the fire hydrant clean.
Ross was concluding his press briefing inside. "About protocol now," he announced. "It isn't a rigid rule any longer to avoid initiating conversation with the
Queen. Call her ‘Your Majesty’ first and after that ‘Ma’am.’ With Philip, it is ‘Royal Highness’ and then ‘Sir.’ Her Majesty has no objection to women wearing black when prese hed to her but she does prefer the wearing of gloves when she is meeting a great many people. I think that's understandable.”
A handout, printed by a new photographic process that enabled the newsroom staff to have a thousand copies ready in five minutes, announced that the Queen would be wearing an afternoon dress in shades of ted, topped by a velvet
coat. A fashion writer waved her hands in furious circles. ‘‘1 could scream!” she wailed. “That woman has no imagination. I'll bet she’s wearing black open-toed shoes as well, suede.”
The Queen’s daytime clothes, it was to develop later would, indeed, rarely be of any distinctive style that would not have been suitable twenty years ago and will not be suitable twenty years from now. As with her public personality. Her Majesty plays it safe and freezes. It was to strike some observers that Elizabeth seldom has a sense of her own attractive-
ness, such as her sister enjoys. She prefers to wear inconsequential clothes that require less confidence.
The CBC was still rehearsing. The screen showed a bus, flying a small Union Jack. One woman climbed out and stood irresolutely. “The giant murmur is growing,” the practicing commentator was saying, “but even through the sound this crowd is making . . .”
The Queen was scheduled to step off the British Overseas Airways Corporation DC-7C at four-thirty. This would give the Toronto Star, which had sent
forty-two men to Ottawa, and the Toronto Telegram, which sent sixteen, only time for a last-edition bulletin.
The fifteen-minute ceremony of welcome at the RCAF Station Uplands, outside Ottawa, had been planned with the precision of a military campaign. Officers lectured their staffs weeks ahead with pointers and diagrams and delegated authority with clipped commands. An aciut.i tour-engine plane was towed into position for rehearsals and RCAF officers pinned labels to their jackets reading “The Queen” and “Mrs. Diefenbaker” and gracefully shook hands with one another. Four men spent a full day practicing to unroll a red carpet from an immaculate white spool.
The effort may have been justified; the arrival of the Queen at Ottawa was faultless. She was to emerge from planes three times more and from a train once during the tour, but the Canadian arrival was the smoothest. A twenty-one-gun salute boomed in the distance, the band played God Save the Queen and the color guard moved with stately slowness, as through syrup. The Queen was solemn as she was welcomed by the Diefenbakers. Philip was debonair. The former prime minister, I.ouis St. Laurent, watched from a thirdrow seat in the grandstand, his face noncommittal. Fashion writers were making notes. The Queen was wearing black open-toed shoes, suede.
A brisk discussion began on the press bus that joined the end of the Queen’s motorcade to Government House. “What do we say for the crowd at the airport?” someone asked.
“Thirty thousand,” a woman answered.
“More like ten, I thought,” grumbled another voice.
“But thirty thousand was expected!” said the woman.
“Okay, okay. Is it agreed with everyone? Thirty thousand?”
“Who are you with?”
Five hundred and thirteen of the accredited press attended the Queen’s first formal duty, a reception at Government House. She and Philip stood in a whitewalled room, with a red carpet, and shook hands with everyone in less than an hour. They asked every third or so person a question, usually, “Where are you from?" Harold Barkley, of the Toronto Star, was one of the last of his paper’s delegation to pass through the line. Philip asked his affiliation, Barkley replied, “The Toronto Star,” and Philip grinned. “How terrifying," he said.
Three New York reporters passed through the line together. Bob Considine was stopped by Philip, leaving the New York Mirror’s Bill Slocum in front of the Queen for an interval that embarrassed them both. "And who are you with?” asked the Queen graciously. Pointing to Considine and Scripps-Howard’s Andrew Tully, Slocum replied, “I’m with them.”
When everyone had been presented, Elizabeth and Philip walked alone into the room where the guests were having cocktails. Spying a newspaperwoman he hadn’t seen since the 1951 royal tour, Philip put an arm around her, kissed her on the cheek and asked considerately about her grandchildren. Elizabeth was so solidly ringed with the surging curious that on one occasion, as she stepped backward, she bumped into one. It was, of course, a Toronto Star man, George Bryant.
Upstairs in some of the sixty rooms of Government House, official residence of Canada’s governors-general, servants were unpacking the two tons of luggage brought by the royal party. The Queen's ball gowns were the bulkiest item, pack-
ed in crate-like boxes labeled simply
‘THE QUEEN” and shipped bolt upright.
The next morning, Sunday, the Queen and Philip laid a wreath at Ottawa's cenotaph and attended church at Christ Church Cathedral. Only one U. S. daily newspaper reporter could attend, because of lack of space, so the Boston Globe’s distinguished Frances Burns was selected. She returned to the newsroom afterward to pool her notes.
Speaking above the surrounding clatter of typewriters, the grey-haired Mrs. Burns reported, ‘‘I told the man that the American press was holding its breath, wanting to know if Philip and the Queen made a contribution when the plate was passed, and he replied that they did. but that he wouldn’t reveal how much it was.”
Mrs. Burns surveyed the circle of heads bent over notebooks. “I think he was quite right too,” she added emphatically.
“Don’t editorialize. Frances,” said Considine. “Get on with it.” Mrs. Burns chuckled, and continued.
Their first afternoon in Canada was kept free of formal engagements, partly because it was • well known that the Queen was very nervous about her first live television broadcast, which was to be delivered that night. The royal couple, it was announced, would picnic, or enjoy a drive in the Gatineau hills or a walk. Reporters sensed a rare opportunity for an exclusive.
The Toronto Star posted radio-equipped cars around the gates of Government House and the Telegram, getting a tip on the probable picnic site, dispatched a photographer and a reporter, Dorothy Howarth, one of the country’s outstanding newspaperwomen.
Another photographer sneaked into the Government House grounds and hid himself in some bushes. His three-hour vigil was rewarded. Elizabeth and Philip decided to walk in the gardens, where she took color films to show their children. They came upon a totem pole near the photographer and, seized with a sudden exuberance, skipped around it hand in hand. The delighted photographer, later discovered and ejected by the Mounties, sold his pictures to Paris Match, a French magazine noted for the enterprise of its photographers. (One Paris Match photographer, barred from leaving a ship with exclusive pictures of Grace Kelly on her way to her wedding, wrapped his negatives in plastic, put his passport in his teeth, jumped overboard and swam across the harbor to shore:)
Elizabeth was dreading the television show but it seemed vital, in view of the storm over her formal filmed television appearances in Britain. When she is afraid, she hides deeper within herself and presents an inflexible exterior. Her demeanor was calm when a CBC producer, Michael Hind-Smith, arrived at Government House late that afternoon. He was not fooled and launched a conversation about trivia. “The biggest problem,” he commented later, “was to get her relaxed.”
Their chatter led around to some problems. Hind-Smith pointed out that the backdrop the Queen had brought from England, one with a giant royal crest, was too “busy” and would be distracting. The Queen agreed and simple drapes replaced it. There had been some notion that the Queen would speak from an armchair, but Hind-Smith thought she would feel more secure behind a desk. They were using a new kind of prompter, called Tellens, which reflects by mirror contrivances the words of a speech directly in front of the lens. The speaker then appears to be looking into the camera, rather than slightly above or below
as with other prompters. The Queen had practiced with one in Buckingham Palace before leaving England and was familiar with it.
They had a brief rehearsal, watched by Philip who urged his wife to try to smile. She nodded and looked, for a moment, quite miserable. The couple had tea with Hind-Smith. Philip remarked that during the morning’s church service, he had been required to read the lesson. “It was from St. Matthew 13,” Philip told Hind-Smith. “There’s a line in it about ‘wailing and gnashing of teeth.’ I hope no
one noticed that I left it out. It has, ahem, a special meaning for me.” The Queen giggled. Hind-Smith deduced that it had a special meaning for her too.
Elizabeth then sat down at the desk, kicked off her shoes and prepared to begin. Just before the television show was about to start, Hind-Smith, seated before a monitor in the control room, became aware that an expression of congealed terror had come into the Queen's eyes. He rapidly instructed his studio director, Dermot Beaumont-Nesbitt, “Tell the Queen to remember the wailing and
gnashing of teeth!” The studio director, mystified, did so. Elizabeth flashed a brilliant smile and visibly eased. A moment later, she was on.
Her speech, most observers felt, was charming. She seemed assured, she smiled shyly and had a few comments that connoisseurs of her addresses said were of rare thoughtfulness. Speaking of the next day’s opening-of-parliament ceremonies, she said, “There are long periods when life seems a small dull round, a petty business with no point and then suddenly we are caught up in some great event.”
Her French accent, when she switched to that language, was better than flawless —it was unstudied.
When the program was over. Her Majesty breathed a deep sigh of relief, grinned gaily at her husband and put her shoes back on. Philip poured a Scotch and soda for himself and Hind-Smith. "I think,” he said, “that we both need this.”
There was pandemonium in the newsroom when Andrew Ross, of the External Affairs Department, that day announced that there would be room for only sixty standees in the press gallery of the Senate the next day, sixteen invitations to the state reception the same evening and room for one state dinner peeker, who would be concealed behind a potted palm, and twelve reception peekers. who could stand in a pantry and look through curtains.
“Will the potted palm peeker pool?” someone asked, deadpan.
“Certainly,” said Ross, equally seriously.
The Queen and Philip received the committee of the Privy Council and about a hundred diplomats the next morning, Monday. Talk centred on the full bag of ducks the Duke had shot at dawn, having arisen long before the official day began to do so. After lunch they drove to the House of Commons, where the Queen read the Speech from the Throne in a bath of spotlights that
brought the temperature of the room to ninety-three and measured five hundred on photographers’ light meters, an amount of light comparable to that used in a television studio. The strong lights, needed for a National Film Board documentary of the visit, blew all the fuses in the House of Commons just five minutes before Her Majesty arrived. For four minutes and five seconds there was total power failure. CBC technicians wept when power was restored, with fifty-five seconds to go.
The state dinner, attended by more than a hundred and served by thirty-five butlers and footmen, featured turtle soup and duckling. It was the first time the Queen ate turtle soup and duckling during the tour, but not the last. She also left North America with the imprint of ham firmly on her palate: in two days in the United States she was served ham four times.
The state dinner peeker, Shirley Gillespie of the Ottawa Journal, discovered at the last minute there was no need for the formal dress her mother had pressed. She was advised that she would be climbing a twenty-foot ladder and peeking at the dinner through curtains. She wore slacks instead. The pantry peekers distinguished themselves by succeeding in smuggling voluble Andrew Tully, of Scripps-Howard, into Government House. Tully was unimpressed, pointing out that he once was successfully smuggled into
the Kremlin^.The Toronto Star’s Edwin Feeny drew a ticket to be a pantry peeker and wore a tuxedo to dignify the event.
It provided good copy for the losers. Considine wrote: “The pool peeker (at the dinner) showed up with a bloodshot eye and a distorted version of the fish course.” Wrote Associated Press’ ace Warren Rogers Jr.: “Even a pantry peeper can look at a Queen ... If you ever meet somebody who is a charter member of the Paired Pantry Peepers Protective Pool, you’ll know how it came about. The losers are still grumbling. I know. I’m one of them.”
At the state reception Mrs. Davie Fulton, wife of the Minister of Justice, was making conversation with the Queen. It presented a problem that was to trouble close to a thousand people during the tour, since the subject matter had to be interesting without being either trite or controversial. Mrs. Fulton chose the sturdy middle ground of children and explained to Her Majesty that her three children had been disappointed when watching the Queen drive by because she hadn't worn a crown.
The Queen was sympathetic. “I know.” she replied w'armly. “It is very important for a queen to look like a queen. After my coronation I saw some children who are relatives of mine, they’ve known me all their lives. They were gaping at me as though I was a stranger and I couldn’t understand it—until I suddenly realized I was wearing a crown.”
The next day, Tuesday, was busy. The royal couple paid a courtesy call to Hull City Hall, set off an explosion in loose clean earth that inaugurated a thirty-onemillion-dollar highway, to be known as the Queensway. which will be a link in the Trans-Canada Highway, planted a tree, shook hands with 1.342 people at a government reception and dined quietly with the Diefenbakers. In addition. Philip received Canadian members of a study conference he had called last year to examine industrial problems in the Commonwealth. Afterward he made a radio broadcast, describing the study conference.
The handshaking at the reception lasted a steady hour and twenty minutes. Aides cautioned the guests, who formed a line that snaked all through the Chateau lobby and moved imperceptibly, “Please don’t shake hands too hard.” The couple asked their usual quick questions (“What are these medals?,” “Who are you with?"), this time of every fifth or sixth person. They paused longer when ten Indian chiefs in mufti came through the line. The Indians had explained to reporters that they would not wear feathers because headdresses are considered formal dress and the royal invitations had stipulated informal attire.
Philip touched a button worn by Six Nations Chief Clifford Styres. “What’s this?" he asked. "Twenty-five years with the post office." explained Styres proudly.
Elizabeth heard full-bodied cheering for the first time when she visited Lansdowne Park the next morning on her way to the airport. The stadium was packed with fifteen thousand school children, who screamed with almost hysterical joy when they saw her. She stayed fifteen minutes and left to board an airplane, the RCAF’s handsome C-5, for her flight to Williamsburg. Virginia. She left Canada at eleven-thirty in the morning.
Three hours later her plane landed at Patrick Henry Airport, named for the rebel who wanted liberty from English rule or death. In the next eight hours, the Queen was to give four speeches and visit nine separate locations. Clearly stipulated on the agenda was one rest stop —ten minutes for her and five for Philip.
It was for everyone the most punishing day of the trip. The veteran reporter Considine said later that it was the toughest day of his newspaper life. The entire area of Williamsburg is a museum, restored by John D. Rockefeller at a cost of sixty-one million dollars to resemble a seventeenth-century village. The state of Virginia spent another twenty-five million, which covered, among other things, the building of an extension on a highway, so the area could celebrate in lavish style an eight-month festival marking the three hundred and fiftieth an-
niversary of the first English settlement at Jamestown. It was to crown this festival that Elizabeth and Philip were first invited to North America. Buckingham Palace showed a dull interest at first but when Suez shredded Anglo-American trust, the trip was essential. Protocol demanded the inclusion of Washington as well. Canada clamored not to be ignored and the Queen had always wanted to see New York City. The tour was arranged to touch all bases.
That evening in Williamsburg, as exhausted reporters were digesting the
news that they would have to be up by five the next morning in order to catch the press plane to Washington, talk turned to Elizabeth’s husband. He had been from the first an enigma, a man of sharp wit that often hurt, high intelligence and periods of gregarious charm. He gives some people a feeling that he keeps fury capped behind a handsome smile; he sometimes demonstrates arrogance, with no excuse save the insufficient one that he is clever.
Someone recounted an incident that happened at dusk that day, on the bal-
amer'1rn~ ur. ri
cony of the Christopher Wren building on the campus of William and Mary College. Against the soft pink brick of the oldest academic building in North America. Her Majesty was receiving some drawings from the college rector. She passed the gifts to an aide, picked up her speech and read some graceful sentences. Among them: “It might surprise some of them, hut I can say quite sincerely that I am very proud that this college educated so many founders of this nation.”
She then presented some gifts and Philip stepped forward. On behalf of the University of Edinburgh, of which he is chancellor, he had a small gift. In the fading twilight, he looked very tanned and dashing. “I know it isn’t Christmas,” he began genially, “but here are some more presents.” He continued to speak nonchalantly, without notes. Fie drew a laugh when he referred to his role of chancellor as “a nebulous superpresident.” The contrast between his quick vocabulary and air of command and the diffidence of his pale and tired wife was strikingly drawn. Reporters turned from him to read her face. Elizabeth was registering animation more vividly than anyone had yet seen; she was obviously very proud.
Philip had been demonstrating some nagging habits that repetition couldn’t fail to impress. He tended to lag behind the Queen, seemingly absorbed in small conversations, so that she had to wait. He did this before ten thousand people at the Ottawa cenotaph ceremony and again outside a tiny old church in Jamestown that day.
His scorn of reporters and photographers was steadily becoming more icy.
On the press reception line at Ottawa, Lucien Côté, supervisor of outside broadcasts for the French network of the CBC, was fumbling for something courteous to say to Philip. He asked politely, “How was the trip?”
Philip stared. “You’ve flown in an airplane?”
“Yes, certainly,” replied Côté.
“Then you know how it is,” said Philip, turning away.
To CBS cameramen, who told him they were covering the entire tour, he said, “I hope you have a good time.”
On the plane taking Elizabeth and Philip from Williamsburg to Washington were freshly bought copies of Look and the Saturday Evening Post. In the former, Edward M. Korry quoted a “court intimate” as saying, “The Queen really knows only two things—horses and uniforms.” In the other, Malcolm Muggeridge was writing, “The monarchy . . . provides a sort of substitute or ersatz religion.” The Queen’s face was calm when she descended from the plane and shook hands with Eisenhower.
Later in the welcoming ceremonies the press ignored the Queen, who was making her usual quick and dignified review of the honor guard. A rumor swept the press corps that Commander Richard Colville, the Queen’s press secretary, was present and there was considerable anxiety to see him. Most press secretaries are familiar to reporters, but Colville had been more difficult to see than the Queen. He finally was identified, a slight man whose every line in his face turns disdainfully down.
Colville appeared at the press reception for the Queen in Washington. A reporter beckoned to him and he came. “Why is this the first time I’ve talked to
you?” asked the reporter. “I’ve talked to the Queen several times but you’re inaccessible.”
Colville wasn’t ruffled. “If I came to a press briefing,” he explained, in the tone of a man who considers himself sweetly reasonable, “I would have to leave the Queen. If I did that. 1 wouldn't know what she was doing. How can I tell you what she's doing if I don’t stay with her?”
It was at the press reception in Washington. where she shook a thousand more hands, that the Queen inserted a sentence in her speech. Except for a one-word ad lib in Williamsburg, inserting “even" before a mention of George III. which caused a chuckle, she never deviated from her typewritten texts. “I am told that . . . this is one of the largest press corps in the world,” she read. .She lifted her head, "As I look around 1 don’t find that hard to believe.” The crowd laughed and the Queen flushed with dqjight.
A few days later, according to a man who was present, the Queen chided one of her speech writers gently about “the platitudes you have me say” and gleefully reminded him that her ad lib had drawn the biggest laugh she had ever known.
Even the toasts made news
In Washington, as Elizabeth and Philip spent their days at art galleries. Marine barracks, children’s hospitals, cornerstone laying, investitures, scientific conferences and receptions, shaking hands with more than four thousand people, history was made at night. For the first time in the recollection of a veteran Washington reporter, Eisenhower made news during a toast. Proposing a toast to Elizabeth, he commented that England and United States should pool scientific resources within NATO. His Secretary of State, John Foster Dulles, in proposing a toast the following night, also stressed co-operation. Press working hours grew longer; no one dared quit until the toasts were in.
“I expect,” mourned one sleepy reporter, “one night someone will say, ‘Let’s drink to the Queen! And by the way, we’re at war.’ ”
Elizabeth was making news with the fashion writers by wearing sheath evening dresses at night as she had in Paris. Inez Robb, of Scripps-Howard, saw one and wrote, “At the risk of royal displeasure, I can only say that if any other woman had appeared in it, I woidd have expected her to sing St. Louis Blues.”
Sunday afternoon in Washington, as the previous Sunday in Ottawa, was set aside for comparative privacy. Elizabeth and Philip, sixteen policemen on motorcycles, three state police cars and a press bus drove into the Virginia hunt country to visit a private estate owned by multimillionaire Paul Mellon.
Reporters and photographers were barred from the estate. One photographer, for Jour de France, which is Paris Match’s competitor magazine, concealed his telescopic-lensed camera under his coat, walked idly away from the group, ran down a country road for half a mile, bluffed his way through a state police blockade, commandeered a passing citizen’s car and drove another two miles. He arrived at a point where Her Majesty could be viewed, from a distance of over half a mile. Already in position and photographing were two men from Paris
Match, equipped with a getaway car hidden in some bushes.
On the press train that followed the royal, train out of Washington's Union Station on the way to New York, reporters, inevitably, talked shop. The Queen’s visit to a supermarket, it was agreed, was the best story of the trip. Cynthia Lowry, of the Associated
Press, one of the three reporters who were present, began to chuckle as she described it. "You should have seen the faces!” she recalled, entranced. "Here was this little woman in front of the light-bulb counter, trying to make up her mind whether she’d buy one hundredwatt bulb or two sixties. She looks up and there’s the Queen of England!”
New York rained two hundred tons of confetti and streamers on Elizabeth and Philip. Only General Douglas MacArthur, in recent years, has received more. Placards in shop windows read “WELCOME LIZ AND PHIL!” The couple saw some of New York's most impressive sights. Crossing from Staten Island in a ferryboat, they saw the skyline rise up rootless out of a mist, saw the green and grave Statue of Liberty with the toy ship Mayflower II bobbing at her feet, drove up Fifth Avenue in bubble-topped limousines immediately preceding a cathired by Dorothy Kilgallen, who also waved to the crowds, strolled through the airy United Nations building and felt wonder at the top of the Empire State building.
They ate lunch with fifteen hundred and dinner with four thousand. Since the Waldorf-Astoria couldn't accommodate all the dinner guests in one room, a closed-circuit television setup was arranged so that those in smaller dining rooms could watch the head table and hear the speeches. The Queen, naturally. knew of this arrangement but she obviously did not understand either (a) that the camera would be on her while she was eating, or (b) that a zoomar lens on a camera can fill the screen with the face of a person four hundred yards away. The result was an odd and interesting insight to Elizabeth’s personality.
Reporters who had been watching the Queen incessantly for almost ten days saw a stranger. She laughed gaily, but was so taut that she thrummed her fingers on the table frantically while she laughed. She talked with her mouth full. She fussed with her tiara, patted her tootight curls, adjusted the shoulder straps of her gown more than ten times. She scratched her face and grabbed back an almost-empty wine glass that a waiter began to take away.
“Consider,” observed one reporter sympathetically, “what fantastic control that woman can impose on herself. This is the first time I have ever seen her move like this.”
Just as he spoke, Elizabeth gave a demonstration of how the control works. A man appeared behind her chair to adjust a microphone, just as she was giggling and putting on her long gloves. Instantly something dropped over her face and it became expressionless, her back went stiff and her hands stilled.
After the dinner there was one more stop. A ball had been arranged by a group of Commonwealth societies in the vast Seventh Avenue armory. Reporters who arrived early felt an air of pathetic decay and fading gentility in the room.
Expatriates from Britain, wearing finery that in some cases was shabby, seemed to be yearning for some lost stature that the presence of their young healthy monarch might lend. They sat patiently in tiers of chairs and watched the door. Possibly Elizabeth, when she arrived, felt their need. She lingered an hour longer than her schedule had allowed.
Driving to the airport well after one in the morning, she and Philip saw the lacey lights of New York recede, heavy bridges etched in spangles in the darkness, streaks of reflected light to show
that a river was beside them. As their car and escorting motorcycles passed beneath bridges, lonely policemen looked down. A guard had been mounted for hours, to ensure that no one drop anying in the path of the royal visitors. Women in dressing gowns, with topcoats thrown over their shoulders, left apartment houses to watch the Queen pass and people walking dogs stopped and stared.
Wearing a multi-colored ball gown, a dazzling tiara and an ermine coat, Elizabeth climbed the steps to the airplane.
The band, chilled through by the east wind blowing across the runways, bravely played Auld Lang Syne. Elizabeth waved and disappeared into the plane. At ten minutes to two she was airborne and headed for England.
Canadians waited until she w!as home before they demanded the cost of entertaining her. Best guess: six hundred thousand dollars for the three and a half days. But Elizabeth must have had a deep sense of satisfaction: throughout a touchy nine and a half days she had not made a mistake. ★
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