Stanford alum shares story of having lunch with Queen Elizabeth II in 1983

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ByLuz Pena via KGO logo
Friday, September 9, 2022
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Stanford alumnus Andrew Messing shares his story of having lunch with Queen Elizabeth II in 1983.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- In 1983 Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip visited California. Aside from meeting former President Ronald Reagan, on the list of people to meet was also Andrew Messing: a Stanford University sophomore.

"I was one of the lucky students," Messing said.

ABC7 News reporter David Louie captured the moment almost 40 years ago, when Messing got ready to meet the Queen.

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"It was an amazing experience," Messing said.

Luz Pena: "Do you still talk about it to people around you that you met and had lunch with the queen?"

Andrew Messing: "It does come up. Sometimes it's used as trivia as an icebreaker."

Messing said he had to practice the royal protocol before addressing the queen.

"It was a little nerve-racking," Messing and added, "You want to make sure you don't mess up and you get the lines appropriate, and when you say 'your majesty' and 'your royal highness.' But then she had a wonderful way of putting you at ease. She was so delightful and sincere and really just lovely to talk to."

VIDEO: FROM THE ARCHIVE: Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Philip visit Bay Area in 1983

Former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown is also remembering Queen Elizabeth II. During her visit to California, she made a trip to Sacramento. Brown was California State Assembly Speaker then.

"Her visit with me in Sacramento is one of the highlights of my public career," Brown said.

Brown remembers the queen's sense of humor.

"There had clearly not been a briefing by her staff people on what should and should not occur in that visit," Brown said and added, "I didn't know there was a certain side that she should walk on and all those kinds of things. I had to wing it. She winged it as well."

At one point Queen Elizabeth II laughed at one of Brown's mistakes.

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"I had said to her that there are 80 members and so she turned to me and said, 'Which ones are the members?' I said, 'The ones standing.' She said, 'They are all standing,'" Brown said.

In San Francisco's Japantown, the owner of Crown and Crumpet is also honoring the queen's legacy with afternoon tea.

"The whole world was excited that this amazing woman has reigned for 70 years. Most people have never known any other queen," said Amy Dean.

If you want to pay tribute to Queen Elzabeth II, San Francisco City Hall has a condolences book that you can sign. The book will be delivered to the British consulate in San Francisco.

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