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Saturday, October 1, 2022
Remembering the Queen: When the royals visited my Manitoba hometown
This image of King George and the Queen Mother driving through the streets of Winnipeg in 1939 was saved by Miranda Krause-Chivers’ late mother.
This image of King George and the Queen Mother driving through the streets of Winnipeg in 1939 was saved by Miranda Krause-Chivers’ late mother. Supplied

Miranda Krause-Chivers
Special to The Lake Report

During the Royal Family’s visit to my hometown of Portage la Prairie, Man., on July 13, 1970, I met Queen Elizabeth, Prince Philip, Prince Charles and Princess Anne during a walkabout on Island Park, where there was a racetrack and lots of horse barns.

I didn’t shake any hands, but I did get to say hello and I took a photo of the group. Sadly, this was long before the internet and that picture is either the victim of time or hiding somewhere in my many boxes.

On the day the royals arrived, my teenaged friends and I elbowed our way through the small crowd to get up to the roped-off area.

The Queen was kindly making the rounds like she always did, greeting folks with a handshake, her brilliant smile and kind words. Prince Philip hung back a few steps behind and was less intimate with the public.

Princess Anne seemed totally bored. If I remember correctly, she wore a very conservative yellow dress and hat. She hung back on a rocky ledge under a tree branch and didn’t interact with anyone.

I remember seeing her grimace and look toward the horse barns as though she couldn’t get there fast enough.

The person we were most interested in was the tall, slender Prince Charles with the oversized ears, long arms and big hands.

He kept those hands mostly behind his back, but when he greeted someone, his arms dangled awkwardly by his side as if they were some peculiar appendage. He didn’t quite know what to do with them, nor with us.

When we screamed and begged him to come over and talk to us, he blushed, looked down at the ground and smiled with that sexy, boyish grin.

At 22, he was just beginning to learn his royal role and seemed somewhat uncomfortable with all the female attention.

Keep in mind this was before the internet and social media. The news cameras were much more civil and the royal protocol more formal than now.

The security team wasn’t too impressed with this gaggle of giggling teenaged girls trying to jump the ropes and they eventually asked us to leave.

Although we enjoyed seeing all the royals, we were infatuated with the prince. Months later, I was still dreaming of marrying him.

I suppose that’s when my love for regal romance stories was born. Ah, a girl can always dream. Books make it possible.

On a lesser royal note, I also saw the Duke and Duchess of York (Prince Andrew and his then-wife Princess Sarah Ferguson) in Mississauga on July 18, 1987.

According to news reports, they met with the crowds for a mere 20 minutes. Their visit was so short I barely remember it.