Queen Elizabeth II briefly stopped in Connecticut back in the 1970s. And while her time in the state didn’t last long, those who witnessed it have memories that will last a lifetime.
According to an official itinerary, Queen Elizabeth was only scheduled to spend about 30 minutes in New Haven.
We’re told she arrived at Long Wharf, passed by City Hall and then headed to the airport.
“That was over the top. It was probably the biggest celebrity since Kennedy to come into New Haven,” said Clark Hurlburt from Bethany, who witnessed the Queen’s arrival.
Photos: Queen Elizabeth II Visits Connecticut in 1976
Inside the New Haven Museum and stored in The Whitney Library, librarian Ed Surato shared with us the stories and images from July 10, 1976.
It's a day he knows well since he was there among the reported 50,000 well-wishers.
“It was great. It was joy,” Surato said. “The Royal yacht Britannia came into the harbor.”
Clark Hurlburt said his father Howard claimed to have met Elizabeth while he and other soldiers changed her car’s tire while serving in World War II.
So when Her Majesty traveled to New Haven, father and son headed to Fort Hale.
“He was sure if he stood at that fort and he got her attention, she would recognize him. Now they were half mile out in the harbor so they weren’t going to see anything anyway. But it was a neat spectacle,” Hurlburt said.
After a quick drive in the city, Elizabeth and the prince arrived to the delight of crowds at Tweed New Haven Airport. She was there along with Prince Philip, former Governor Ella T. Grasso and New Haven Mayor Frank Logue.
Those who witnessed history that day share in the loss all these years later.
“It is sad. It’s a world leader,” Surato said.
“I felt bad. She was quite a woman. She was remarkable,” Hurlburt said.
Queen Elizabeth visited several states back in 1976 as part of the country’s Bicentennial celebration.
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