An outpouring of well-wishes and memories continue to come in ahead of Queen Elizabeth’s funeral next week. Several workers at Children’s National Hospital are remembering the monarch’s visit to the D.C. hospital in May 2007.
“Everyone was a little bit starstruck,” said Judy Ross, a certified child life specialist at the hospital. “She was regal.”
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Ross said the hospital sent a slew of emails days before the queen’s visit, educating workers on the proper do’s and don’ts when meeting the monarch.
“There were so many emails going around that by the time the queen came to meet our group, everyone was standing there frozen,” Ross said. “They did not know what to do. To curtsy or not to curtsy? Don’t shake her hand.”
Security was tight that day because the queen was joined by then-first lady Laura Bush and a bevy of dignitaries, said Ross.
“I had to open all of the cabinets and the dogs came in to sniff out everything,” she recalled. “There was a sharpshooter on the rooftop.”
And there were funny moments with Britain’s longest-reigning monarch, Ross said.
Moments after the White House chef delivered gingerbread cookies, she spotted Queen Elizabeth visiting with a little girl.
“This one little girl must have been 4 or 5,” Ross said. “She was wearing a crown and had a tutu on. And she was decorating cookies with icing with the queen, calling her queenie.”
Ross laughed about the encounter. She says the queen didn’t seem offended by the child’s term of endearment and continued decorating the treats.
“I don’t think it registered with them, the depth of meeting the queen,” Ross said of the young patients who were introduced to the monarch. “They’re young adults now. I’m sure when the look back, they probably think: ‘Oh, my gosh. I got to meet the queen of England.’”
Ross was saddened when she learned of Queen Elizabeth’s passing last week. And her memories of the day she met the monarch came flooding back.
“Her whole life, committed to service. I was just very sad,” Ross said.” I think she was such an amazing person who upheld everything. She is so loved.”