Meredith Moment: Students Meet Queen Elizabeth II in 2004

With the Royal Wedding in the news, we look back at a moment in Meredith College history. In 2004, three Meredith College students met Queen Elizabeth II while studying abroad in London. The story below originally appeared in Meredith Magazine’s Winter 2005 issue.

Update: Current Meredith student Ashton Herbert, who is studying abroad at Meredith's Sansepolcro, Italy, site this spring, was in London for the Royal Wedding.

Meredith Study Abroad Results in Meeting Queen Elizabeth II

Three students participating in a Meredith College study abroad program in London met Queen Elizabeth II on Tuesday, July 6, 2004, following the dedication of a memorial fountain for Princess Diana.

Meredith seniors Sarah Margaret Tulloss, Paige Walston and Kelly Jones attended the dedication ceremony, along with others from the College.

“We left to go to the Princess Diana Memorial at 7 a.m.,” said Jones, a human communication major from Wilson, N.C. “We got the front row around the gate and had a very good view.”

The three decided to remain at the memorial following the dedication. “At first we didn’t believe the Queen would make her rounds in front of the public because after she opened the memorial she went inside the building,” Jones said.

When the Queen and Prince Phillip returned to greet the crowd following a private reception, the students made the most of this chance encounter.

“I knew that you were not supposed to speak to the Queen unless spoken to, but I realized that I should not let this opportunity pass,” said Tulloss, an international studies major from Rocky Mount, N.C. “Therefore I tried to say as politely and convincingly as I could, with the Queen looking directly in my eyes, ‘Lovely speech ma’am’.”

During the short conversation that followed, the Queen asked the students about their visit, about where they were from, and how long they would be in London.

Jones said Queen Elizabeth was “more interested in us than I thought the Queen of England would be.”

Walston, a political science major from Wilson, N.C., summed up the experience by saying, “We were hoping to meet Prince William, but meeting the Queen was spectacular. We never thought in a million years the Queen of England would stop to chat with a couple of North Carolinians!”

Study Abroad Director Betty Webb said this is the first time in the 30-plus year history of the Meredith Abroad program that students have met with a member of the royal family.

“First we were mentioned in a Tom Stoppard play in the West End, then we were in the Economist Magazine, in the background of a photo of Tony Blair,” Webb said. “Now we were in conversation with the Queen.”

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