Queen Mother in New York City, 1954

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The Queen Mother sailed back for England on the Queen Mary after her month-long Tour of Canada and the United States on this day in 1954, the highlight of which was in New York City, where she met the United Nations Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjold and attended Columbia University’s Bicentennial Convocation at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, where the Queen Mother was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree. King George II of England granted a charter to King’s College in 1754, which was renamed Columbia in 1754 after the American Revolution.

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In the evening, the Queen Mother (in the Oriental Circlet Tiara and Queen Victoria’s Crown Ruby Parure) attended the Seventh Regular Armory ball at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, walking through an honour guard, consisting of men attached to the royal guard at Buckingham Palace during the reign of King George VI.

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The highlight of the trip was the Columbia University Bicentenary Charter Day Dinner, at which the Queen Mother (wearing the Greville TiaraQueen Adelaide’s Fringe Necklace, Queen Victoria’s Fringe Brooch, and the Order of the Garter) delivered a speech with a message from the Queen, complimenting the university for upholding its charter injunction to to uphold religious principles and “equal liberties and the advantage of education for all.”


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