Queen Elizabeth’s Memorialized Visits to Mexico
By ALLAN WALL
The death of Queen Elizabeth II, England’s longest reigning monarch, at age 96 on Thursday, Sept. 8, marked the end of an era for both the people of the United Kingdom and the entire global community.
Nowhere was her influence more felt and will her legacy be more remembered than in her beloved homeland and Commonwealth.
But even here, as far away as in Mexico, Elizabeth left an indelible social and cultural mark, an unflinching legacy of elegance and discretion, dignity and grace.
Among her many distinctive qualities, Elizabeth was an avid globetrotter, traveling extensively throughout the world. She was, in fact, the most well-traveled head of state in the world.
As Conde Nast once wrote: “It’s not for nothing that she is known as the ‘million-mile queen’ — as the most-traveled monarch, she covered at least 1,032,513 miles and visited 117 different countries during her reign. To put it in perspective, that’s the equivalent of 42 journeys around the entire circumference of the earth. She has visited every country in the British Commonwealth and many more besides, carrying out an incredible 290 state visits since 1952.”
Elizabeth visited Mexico twice, first in 1975 and then again in 1983.
Both occasions were state visits, and, of course, Elizabeth was received with the appropriate pomp and circumstance that such appointments merited.
But at the same time, she paused to take in some of the traditional tourist destinations that any foreigner visiting Mexico might.
Her 1975 trip marked the first official visit of a British monarch to Mexico.
It lasted from Feb. 24 to March 1, and she was accompanied at the time by her husband, the late Prince Philip.
The couple arrived to Cozumel, Quintana Roo, aboard the royal yacht Britannia, a 412-foot, ocean-going vessel in use from 1954 to 1997.
They later flew to Mexico City, where they were received by then-President Luis Echeverría Álvarez.
As it turned out, their visit coincided with Mexico’s official Flag Day on Feb. 24, and so Elizabeth and Philip were guests of honor at a huge ceremony in Mexico City’s Zocalo Plaza, with the official presidential band performing a rendition of “God Save the Queen” and the projection of huge animated short of British comic Charlie Chaplin and
Mexican comic Cantinflas.
After the flag ceremony, Elizabeth and her prince were received by cheering crowds in an open-vehicle procession through Mexico City.
This was followed by a stay of several days in the city, including a trip to the nearby Teotihuacán archaeological site.
From Mexico City, the royal couple traveled by train to the central state of Guanajuato, where they visited the Alhóndiga de Granaditas Museum and other sites.
Their next destination was Oaxaca, in southern Mexico, where they visited the Monte Albán archaeological site.
From there, they returned to the Yucatan Peninsula, where they visited the Maya city of Uxmal, for a tour, light-and-sound show, dinner and unexpected downpour.
At that point, Elizabeth famously stood stoically in the rain and turned down the use of an umbrella, endearing her even more to the local people.
After that, it was off to the coastal city of Veracruz and the couple’s departure.
Elizabeth’s 1983 visit also took place in the spring, from Feb. 17 through Feb. 25.
Again, she was accompanied by Prince Philip and they traveled on the royal yacht Britannia, this time hugging the coast of Mexico’s Pacific shoreline.
Elizabeth and Philip first arrived to the resort city of Acapulco, Guerrero, via a Royal Air Force plane, where they were received by then-Mexican President Miguel de la Madrid.
From there, they toured the coast in Britannia, stopping at the industrial port of Lázaro Cárdenas in the central state of Michoacán, Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco (where Queen Elizabeth was presented with the keys to the city), and La Paz in the Baja
During this trip, the passengers on the Britannia included British Foreign Minister Francis Pym and Mexican Secretary of Foreign Relations Bernardo Sepúlveda, who held talks for three days on the spacious yacht.
The queen and her entourage continued on up the coast, finally leaving Mexican waters and visiting points on the U.S. West Coast.
During both her stays in Mexico, Elizabeth was always well-received by both the government and the general public, and was able to enjoy various Mexican experiences.
True to form, during her time in Mexico, Elizabeth displayed that regal yet humble demeanor that won the admiration of so many people worldwide throughout her 70-year reign.