When Queen Elizabeth II Came to Chicago: A Look at the 1959 Visit From Her Majesty

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On July 6, 1959, as part of a larger 45-day trip through the Canadian provinces and four of the five Great Lakes, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip made a brief 14-hour visit to Chicago, the first visit by a reigning British monarch to the city.

The royal couple arrived to the city via Lake Michigan, docking their small boat to a jetty named Queen's Landing, just east of Buckingham Fountain.

The Queen and her husband visited several Chicago landmarks that summer day, including Navy Pier, The Art Institute of Chicago and The Museum of Science and Industry, where the Queen saw herself on color television for the first time in an exhibit.

Her Majesty met with several prominent officials, beginning with a luncheon with then-Illinois Gov. William Stratton at the Ambassador West Hotel while later meeting with governors, two dozen mayors and City Council members at the iconic Drake Hotel, where the couple spent just over two hours.

The Day The Queen Came to Chicago: Photos From Elizabeth II's 1959 Visit

The Queen then dined at the Conrad Hilton Hotel, where Mayor Richard J. Daley was in attendance. It was at this dinner where, according to the Chicago Tribune, Daley sat down to the Queen's left instead of her right, seen as a faux pas when in presence of the Queen.

Daley encouraged the royal couple to visit The Windy City again, a visit that never materialized. Prince Philip visited Chicago alone twice more however, in 1966 and 1982. Prince Philip died at the age of 99 in April 2021.

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip then departed Chicago from Buckingham Fountain, where they were presented with a final gift of a box of recordings by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Queen Elizabeth II: A Royal Life in Pictures

The Queen's final trip to the United States was in May 2007, where Her Majesty was hosted by President George W. Bush and visited Washington D.C., Richmond, Virginia and Louisville, Kentucky among other surrounding cities.

The Royal Family announced Queen Elizabeth II died Thursday at the age of 96 at Balmoral Castle, a royal residence in Scotland.

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