Queen Elizabeth II had been queen for only four years when she made her first State visit to North America, in 1957. The itinerary included a visit to the Canadian parliament, the Empire State Building, attending ceremonies at Jamestown, Virginia, to mark the 350th anniversary of that settlement, and performing her royal duties at official White House functions. The queen was only 31, Ike was in his late sixties.
Before the royal party left London, someone had suggested, that if time would allow, perhaps Elizabeth and Prince Philip could see a real life American football game! The queen expressed interest.
On a chilly October afternoon, the royal motorcade headed out to College Park, for a game between Maryland and North Carolina at Byrd Stadium. The queen sat in a special box on the 50 yard line - great seats! She was wearing a stunning mink coat and red scarf.
Several young fans made their way to the box, and delivered gifts to the bemused and dignified visitor, including Indian arrowheads and Maryland Terrapins musical footballs. She was flanked by the state governors of both Maryland and North Carolina, who spent a great deal of time explaining to Elizabeth what 'offsides' and 'tailback' and '2nd and 8' meant.
She "listened to her lessons like a dutiful student, her brow often furrowed in perplexity," observed one local paper.
Maryland enjoyed a huge upset win over the Tar Heels in front of 43,000 people. This was surely one game that the nation would be talking about, and they - the Terps - made the most of it.
As if the afternoon couldn't get any more random for Her Majesty, they made an additional stop off the beaten path of Official Washington. The queen and the prince toured a Giant food store in West Hyattsville, being guided by the store manager himself. It was reported that Elizabeth was intrigued by the meat section, looking at how the chickens were wrapped in this odd transparent plastic.