Remembering When Queen Elizabeth II Visited Michigan
The death of Queen Elizabeth II sent shockwaves around the world. The longest-reigning monarch in Britain's history passed away on Thursday, September 8, 2022, at the age of 96.
Before she reached an advanced age, Queen Elizabeth was known to travel the world from time to time, not only on official business, but for her leisure as well.
Early in her reign, those travels brought the queen to the Great Lakes.
Queen Elizabeth II Visits Detroit
According to Meandering Michigan History, Queen Elizabeth II and her husband Prince Philip (who preceded her in death in 2021) visited Detroit in the summer of 1959.
Elizabeth had been queen for about seven years when she made the trip to Canada to help dedicate the newly-opened St. Lawrence Seaway, among other things. Her North American visit lasted for a month and a half, as she made her way through each Canadian province and much of the midwestern United States.
Special rules were in place for other vessels as the Royal Yacht Brittania navigated the Detroit River in early July of 1959. Law enforcement on both the Canadian and American sides of the river assured that no other boat would come within fifty yards of royal yacht or its accompanying vessels. The Brittania would have the right of way, no matter what other vessel may be in the area.
Both Detroit and Windsor declared that the First Annual Freedom Festival would take place from July 1 to July 4, 1959. The highlight of the Freedom Festival came on July 3 with the visit of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip. - Meandering Michigan History
Queen Elizabeth II Sails Beneath the Mackinac Bridge
Upon departing Detroit, Queen Elizabeth and the Brittania sailed into Lake St. Clair and along the St. Clair River into Lake Huron. The royal yacht then traveled through the Straits of Mackinac and into Lake Michigan, on its way to Chicago. The queen and her entourage would then travel west by train to visit much of the rest of Canada.
The quality of home videos in 1959 wasn't what it is today. Take a look at amateur video from Queen Elizabeth's visit to Detroit, posted by YouTube user madmickshere: