Thirty years ago last March, the UW hosted the final stop in Queen Elizabeth II’s historic West Coast tour. Crews worked through the night to transform the Hec Ed from a basketball arena (the Huskies faced off against UCLA less than two days before) into a flag-festooned, blossom-bedecked showcase fit for royalty. With security arrangements involving the Secret Service, the CIA and the UWPD (not to mention the queen’s personal security, which included divers to patrol the waters under Her Majesty’s royal yacht, parked in Elliott Bay), it was the most publicly visible and complex event to come to campus since President Kennedy’s visit for the UW centennial in 1962.
Everything went off without a hitch: The queen’s address included a humorous aside about an 1859 dust-up between the United States and England that was sparked by the shooting of a pig in the San Juan Islands, andGovernor John Spellman presented a gift. Hec Ed was put back together in time for the Huskies to take on WSU the following Friday. “We had a wonderful and enjoyable journey,” said the queen.