ABC’s of UMD: Letter Q

Q is for QUEEN’S GAME!

There have been many landmark events in Byrd Stadium–the first Midnight Madness, NCAA men’s lacrosse Final Fours, huge football victories–but none may be more dazzling than the Queen’s Game!

Queen's Game program cover
Queen’s Game program cover

On October 19, 1957, H.R.H. Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip visited Byrd to watch the Terps defeat the North Carolina Tar Heels 21-7. It was the queen’s first and only American football game, and she thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Maryland Governor Theodore and UMD President Wilson Elkins, the queen’s hosts for the day, spent the afternoon explaining the rules of the game to Her Royal Highness, and many photos of the queen show her relaxed, smiling, and engaged in the action. At one point, she expressed surprise that more players did not get hurt given the game’s violent nature. How do we know that? Well, Life magazine hired a lip reader to watch the queen through binoculars from across the stadium and record her every word!

Ticket stub from the Queen's Game
Ticket stub from the Queen’s Game

The University Archives holds many photographs and documents about the game, which was widely covered in the national and international press, as well as a variety of memorabilia items. You can consult a complete list of these resources here.

You can also watch game-day action from Byrd in the first and second half as part of our historical football footage digitization project, and you can learn more about the events of the big day from Mike Springirth’s documentary “Maryland’s Queen for a Day,” available for viewing in Library Media Services on the ground floor of Hornbake Library.

(left to right) President Elkins, Queen Elizabeth, Governor McKeldin, Mrs. Elkins, and Prince Philip
(left to right) President Elkins, Queen Elizabeth, Governor McKeldin, Mrs. Elkins, and Prince Philip

This is the 17th post in our series on Terrapin Tales called ABC’s of UMD! Posts will come out twice a week, on Mondays and Fridays, throughout the semester. If you want to learn more about campus history, check back weekly to see what we’ve picked to highlight, and you can also visit our encyclopedia University of Maryland A to Z: MAC to Millennium for more UMD facts.

Do you have other ABC’s about campus? Let us know in the comments below!

Check back on Friday, October 30, for Letter R!

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