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Getting (too) close to the Queen!

Memorable moments of my career as a journalist? One moment, comical in retrospect, that came to mind in a recent interview with the Mesdames of Mayhem was an encounter with Scotland Yard and the RCMP outside the Montreal hotel room of Queen Elizabeth ll.

I was a young reporter at the Montreal Star when the Queen visited Montreal during the 1976 Summer Olympic Games. I needed material for my daily Queen-watching article, but the highlight of that particular day was the state dinner at the Ritz-Carleton Hotel that then-Quebec Premier Robert Bourassa was holding for the Her Majesty. And the news media had not been invited. From the lobby of the Ritz, a Canadian Press reporter and I observed several elevators stopping at the third floor. We assumed a pre-dinner cocktail party was in progress, and thought we might be welcome at it. We climbed the hotel’s stairs to the third floor and were approaching a door in front of which a number of people had gathered.

Suddenly, we found ourselves being escorted–strong-armed–down the stairs we had just climbed and out into the back alley. To the embarrassment of Scotland Yard and the RCMP, we had come too close to the Queen, who was freshening up before dinner in her private suite. Her Majesty, we were told, would not be amused.

Check out the Madames of Mayhem’s interview here.

Queen Elizabeth ll and Montreal Mayor Jean Drapeau at the 1976 Olympics.

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