“Revived the spirit of Massachusetts”: Governor Dukakis remembers Queen Elizabeth’s historic visit

Sep 11, 2022News

July 11, 1976, was a day for the history books. It was the first trip to the United States from a British Monarch, and the first stop for Queen Elizabeth was Boston, Massachusetts.

“People talk about the Miracle in Massachusetts, but when did it begin? The morning of July 11, 1976,” former Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis told WBZ.

He’s almost 90-years-old now, but remembers Queen Elizabeth’s visit like it was yesterday.

One memory in particular still makes him chuckle. “Whatever you do, never touch her,” he said were the instructions from the Queen’s people. “Never touch her.”

But Dukakis nearly had to break that rule when he says the Queen started to slide down the exit ramp of the Royal Yacht after it parked in the Charlestown Navy Yard. “I must have been kind of leaning forward, because I wasn’t going to let her fall, I don’t care what the folks said,” he joked. Fortunately, Queen Elizabeth caught herself at the end of the ramp without falling, and without Dukakis breaking the rules.

He told WBZ Queen Elizabeth’s trip to Boston came at the perfect time in 1976. “Things were rough around here,” he said. “I mean, the economy was in terrible shape and we were not doing well, and there was something about her arrival here and her spending a day with us that had a profound effect on us.”

Still, he recognizes the irony. “She was particularly popular here in the United States, you know? Our former ‘enemy’ several centuries ago,” he explained.