An Afternoon with Queen Elizabeth II

We find the coolest things while reprocessing the collections! Here is an invitation from the Governor of the Canal Zone for a reception with Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh in November 1953. Inside the envelope there is also a sheet of “protocol notes” which explain how one should act and speak in the presence of the Queen.




We transcribed these protocol notes:


November 25, 1953


  1. The following information may be of interest to guests invited to the reception for Queen Elizabeth II at the Governor’s Residence.
    a. The Queen is addressed as “Your Majesty.” During a conversation the term “Madam” is appropriate.
    b. The Duke of Edinburgh is addressed as “Your Royal Highness.” During a conversation the term “Sir” is appropriate.
    c. The following information concerning presentations is extracted from notes issued by Buckingham Palace:”Her Majesty stands on the right of the Duke of Edinburgh. On Her Majesty’s right stands the host or whoever does the presenting. Guests approach from the right, husbands in front of wives, and the host introduces each by name once only in a voice clear enough for both The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh to hear. Each guest bows or curtseys and shakes hands with Her Majesty and then does the same with His Royal Highness and then passes on. The head of the queue of those to be presented should not be further than 3 yards from the host or whoever is doing the presenting.”d. Individuals being presented should not linger in front of The Queen unless invited to do so. The Queen must always initiate the conversation.

    e. In regard to ladies’ clothes, short afternoon dresses with hats and gloves are appropriate at the reception. Gloves need not be white and should not be taken off before the wearer is presented to The Queen or the Duke of Edinburgh.

  2. For additional information, call Mrs. Nadeau at Balboa 3572.

*NOTE: The bow or curtsey is not required for Americans.


Did you or anyone you knew meet the Queen during her visit?



  • Robert Dryja

    My Dad was the Assistant Marine Director and in charge of the smooth operation of the locks among other things when she made her visit. He was particularly aware of the transit of the royal yacht. It was scheduled to stop in a lock chamber so the queen could then tour the control building and see the filling/draining of a lock chamber. She was a gracious lady who wanted to learn how the locks operated. I have four pictures of her visit to the locks and could send digital copies if given a good e-mail address.

  • Fred Sill

    Since my dad had been awarded a medal for valor during the first world war, by the queen’s grandfather, George V, he and my mother were invited to meet the royal couple before a reception at the British embassy in Panama. When my father was presented to Prince Philip, Philip asked “What do you do?”. My dad said “Actually, I don’t do anything these days. My wife has the job”. Philip replied “I have the same situation in my household”.

  • jack caldwell

    I remember the queen passing in front of the albrook afb gate,also when their ship came came off oft the gamboa section of the canal she and prince phillip were sitting on the area of the pilot and hundreds of people were on the banks..also I have a photo of her taken b y a friend when she passed by in a limo convertible with an umbrella over her head..I sent her a copy of this photo,,,jack caldwell

  • John Schmidt

    i participated in the “ship side” welcoming party at Cristobal. /the joint service ceremony was done inside the terminal and all the service chiefs were formed along with platoon size troops from each service. I was,during my tour at Albrook on the Honor Guard, the Generals(Commander of the Air Forces) M GEN Reuben C. Hood, Color Sergeant. I carried his Generals Flag at all functions such as this ceremony. I have several photos taken of the ceremony and have identified all participants

    As an aside to the Queen visiting.. While stationed at the University of Maryland, the Queen visited and when entering Byrd Stadium, I was one of the Air Force NCO’s that raised her “Standard” (personal flag-always at her location).

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