Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Queen Marie wears diadem to State Dinner

October 19, 1926

Queen Marie of Romania and President and Mrs. Calvin Coolidge "exchanged official visits this afternoon with the utmost rigidity of ceremony and the utmost pomp of gold lace and clanking sabres possible in the American Republic, reports the New York Times.

This was the "first such ceremony" in the United States and Queen Marie is the first Queen to be so "received by the President on American soil."

The official welcome preceded the State Dinner, where Queen Marie wore a "diadem of diamonds and pearls to the White House.  She was the guest of honor at the White House dinner, which was the "first such function ever held in the United States."   The planning "presented delicate problems  in etiquette and precedence which were not disposed of until almost the minute."

It was a day of "extraordinary activity" for Queen Marie, the consort of King Ferdinand.  At times, it seemed that she was on a "split-second" schedule.   She arrived at "precisely" 3:59 p.m., at the White House to call on President Coolidge.    She had spent the earlier part of her day with her son, Prince Nicholas and daughter, Princess Ileana, seeing the sights, which included a trip to Mount Vernon, George Washington's home.

Before heading to the White House, the Queen  stopped at Arlington National Cemetery, where she laid a wreath on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. At Arlington, she seemed "deeply impressed by the beauty of the setting of the tomb of the Unknown Soldier."

 She also laid a wreath on Washington's tomb at Mount Vernon.   Lunch was served in the banquet hall where General Lafayette was once a guest.  She was also appreciative of Mount Vernon.  "It's too lovely. Washington must have loved God very much to have chosen beautiful surroundings.  I love the velvety color of these trees.  They speak of God, don't they.  The love of God is a beautiful thing."

The Queen described Washington as "bigger and lovelier" than she expected.   After a brief return to the Romanian Legation to change their clothes, the Queen and her children were driven to the White House and were welcomed at the great portico on the Pennsylvania Avenue side of the Executive Mansion.

Queen Marie was dressed in a brown brocaded cloth coat "enriched with gold threads, flaring at the bottom and trimmed with a heavy mink border, collar and cuffs.   She wore a "brown velvet crushed turban, brown leather shoes and taupe stockings."    Princess Ileana  was dressed in a"navy blue velvet coat suit with a knee-length  skirt and close-fitting hat," while her brother, Prince Nicholas, wore the dress uniform of a Lieutenant in the Romanian Navy.

The royal party were escorted to the Green Room, where they awaited the President and Mrs. Coolidge, who were waiting in their private apartment until it was time to go to the Blue Room, where the formal introduction would take place.

After the formal introductions, the Queen and her party left the White House, and returned to their hotel, to prepare for the state dinner.  The British-born queen, a granddaughter of Queen Victoria, was robed in a "creation by Patou, a straight-lined gown of white georgette crepe embroidered  in sequins."   The back of the gown was deeply pointed and the "neck was cut round in front."  This was complimented by a wing train that hung from the "right shoulder to the floor."  The Queen wore silver stockings and silver slippers."

Her tiara, worn as a diadem, "was the outstanding feature of her toilette."  It was made of "pearls and diamonds in pear shaped clusters."  She had inherited the tiara from her mother, Grand Duchess Marie Alexandrovna of Russia.    The Queen also wore the blue ribbon of the Romania's highest order.   She arrived at the White House "wearing a cloak of white messaline with gold brocade and trimmed with sable."

Princess Ileana's gown was far less elaborate.  She wore a blue crepe de chine gown embroidered with sequins.

Queen Marie was seated at the President's right.

The seven course dinner began with anchovy canapé, followed by consomme.  The fish course was lobster in cream, and the main course was filet mignon. Then menu also featured salad, ice cream, fruit and coffee.

After the dinner, the men went to the President's study for "their cigars and cigarettes." while the ladies "retired to the Blue Room.  The Queen left the White House at 9:45 p.m.

The  Queen and her children are expected to remain in the United States and Canada for two months, and return to Romania in December.   She is expected to open the Maryhill Museum in Washington State on November 3.  The Queen has brought 50 cases of Romanian art which go on display in the museum's Romanian room.

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