The year 2012 is the Diamond Jubilee of Elizabeth II, whose accession to the throne of seven independent Commonwealth countries on February 6, 1952 arose upon the death of her father, King George VI. Queen Elizabeth’s coronation did not occur, however, until on June 2, 1953. The jubilee thus far has been marked with various celebrations during the past several months. This Saturday, June 2, 2012 is the first day of “The Central Weekend”—a four-day series of events that will surely make the news.
Elizabeth II’s first visit to the United States as queen occurred between October 16th and 22nd, 1957—and as you might have deduced by now, Hugh Morton photographed the queen during her trip. On Saturday October 19th, the University of North Carolina football team played the University of Maryland at Byrd Stadium in College Park, and Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip attended the game. North Carolina Governor Luther Hodges represented the state and presented the queen with a small trophy of Sir Walter Raleigh. A dozen photographs from the day can be seen in the online collection. The photograph shown here is slightly different, however, than the image in the online collection. Both images appear to have been made within a few seconds of each other; the negative frame depicted here is the version that appears (although cropped) in the chapter on Hodges in Hugh Morton and Edward Rankin, Jr.’s book Making a Difference in North Carolina.
Another interesting tidbit about this photograph is that Charlotte Observer published an AP photograph made at nearly the very same moment—and from the perspectives of the two photographs, both photographers may have been standing directly next to each other with the AP photographer to Morton’s left, thus revealing a bit more of Hodges’s face. Charlotte Observer photographer Don Sturkey, whose collection is also part of the North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives, also covered the event. One of Sturkey’s photographs that appeared in the Sunday edition of the newspaper had a caption that helped me identify some people previously listed as unidentified in the images.
Morton’s photographs, on the other hand, may not have appeared in any of the next day’s newsprint. In addition to the Charlotte Observer, I made a quick check of the News and Observer, the Winston-Salem Journal, and Wilmington’s Morning Star-News. During the preceding days of that week, Morton may have been traveling with Hodges and a delegation of North Carolinians seeking business prospects in New York City. Morton served as the chair of the State Advertising Committee under Governor Hodges. There is a group of undated photographs in the Morton collection that may have been made during that New York City trip, and if Morton was photographing at Byrd Stadium in that capacity on their return to Raleigh, then his images of Queen Elizabeth were likely made to serve a purpose other than news photography.
While working on this post, I was able to identify one other person who appears in one of the photographs: University of North Carolina president William Friday, who would become one of Hugh Morton closest friends.