History buff Queen Elizabeth II got the royal tour of Sacramento in 1983

Queen Elizabeth is greeted by California Gov. George Deukmejian outside the State Capitol on Friday, February 4, 1983 in Sacramento, Calif.
Queen Elizabeth is greeted by California Gov. George Deukmejian outside the State Capitol on Friday, February 4, 1983 in Sacramento, Calif. Sacramento Bee file

The Sacramento Bee is celebrating its 160th anniversary this year. This story is part of our ongoing coverage.

March 5, 1983: In a brisk four-hour visit underscored by royal humor and legislative and citizen protests, Queen Elizabeth II brought her hopscotching tour of the Pacific Coast to Sacramento Friday.

The 56-year-old British monarch and her husband, Prince Phillip, duke of Edinburgh, landed in Air Force II at Sacramento Metropolitan Airport at 10:56 a.m. and were welcomed by Gov. Deukmejian and other dignitaries.

Her arrival followed a sparkling black-tie affair in San Francisco Thursday night attended by President Reagan that offered a sumptuous menu, including champagne and caviar.

Sunshine greeted the British royalty as the gray rainy pall of recent days lifted. Temperatures reached the upper 60s as the queen and prince made their first-ever appearance in Sacramento.

The royal visit included only two stops, Sutter’s Fort and the Capitol. And in those two locales the queen saw touches of the Old West and the new – a sweeping leap from ragged, fierce-looking mountain men in the circa 1846 fort to the elegantly refurbished statehouse where some of Deukmejian’s heftiest financial contributors shared a palate-pleasing seafood lunch.

But the visit was also an occasion for overt and covert protest. Senate President Pro Tem David Roberti, D-Hollywood, gave away lunch tickets for him and his wife, allegedly because his spouse is Irish and opposes British rule in Ireland.

There were no protesters and a surprisingly small crowd of about 200 spectators in attendance when the federal government’s Air Force II jetliner touched down at Metropolitan Airport. The queen and Prince Phillip disembarked and immediately took their places in the royal motorcade for a 25-minute ride to Sutter’s Fort.

Sutter’s Fort was a queen’s wish fulfilled. A history buff and Old West enthusiast, Queen Elizabeth was treated to a special tour of the restored fort.

Smiling politely, clutching her customary handbag and looking somewhat incongruous in a forest-green wool coat with matching straw hat, the queen never lost her queenly composure.

Ronald W. Powell

Cooledge is city’s first female mayor


1948: After a 31-year career as an educator, Belle Cooledge felt it was time for a change. So after retiring as vice president of Sacramento Junior College, and at the urging of her students, Cooledge decided to run for the City Council in 1948.

She not only won a seat, she also collected the most votes of any of the 20 candidates in the at-large elections.

Following tradition, her council colleagues then elected her mayor as the top vote-getter, the first female mayor in Sacramento history.

Cooledge served one term as mayor, then another as a council member before losing a bid for a third term. She died in 1955.

Cartoon Corner

Rex Babin editorial cartoon July 3, 2006


Want to share Bee memorabilia?


The Sacramento Bee is preparing a premium edition about memorabilia for print subscribers on March 31 and seeks reader input.

Do you have any Bee memorabilia – delivery bags, rack cards, Scoopy items, old newspapers or other artifacts – that you would like to see published?

Send photos and brief descriptions of your items with a name and phone number to asorci@sacbee.com. Deadline is March 8.

Read more about Sacramento’s history here.

As The Sacramento Bee celebrates its 160th year of publication, step back in time and view our most memorable news photographs. From presidents to serial killers, floods to infernos, The Bee's photojournalists have captured the moments of our unfo

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