The Royals are coming to Memorial Stadium . . . the ones from London, not Kansas City.
Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip will be at the stadium May 15 to watch what apparently will be their first baseball match ever.
"I don't think they've ever been to a baseball game before," said Michael Price, spokesman for the British Embassy in Washington.
He refused to give any further details yesterday except to confirm that the queen and her husband will be on a state visit to Washington from May 13 to 17.
Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip are attending the game at the invitation of Orioles owner Eli S. Jacobs and will watch it from his box, Oriole spokesman Rick Vaughn said yesterday. There is also a possibility that President Bush will accompany them to the game, he said.
The monarch will attend a private reception at the stadium and meet both the Orioles players and their opponents, the Oakland Athletics, Mr. Vaughn said, adding that the couple is not expected to stay for the entire game.
Members of the O's office staff were "buzzing" about the visit yesterday although the players had not been told yet, Mr. Vaughn said. The team's most recent brush with national leaders came on Opening Day 1989, when Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak attended the game with President Bush.
"Obviously, we've never experienced anything quite like this," Mr. Vaughn said of the upcoming visit. A lot [of the plans] will be dictated by whatever her advance people tell us, and we haven't met with them yet. We have somewhat of an idea what this might be like from when President Bush and President Mubarak attended. There are certain rules you have to play by."
There's a precedent for this sporting sort of visit to the state -- the queen and her husband saw what is believed to have been their first football game at the University of Maryland in College Park on Oct. 19, 1957.
Also on a state visit at the time, the queen had asked to attend an American football game. She and Prince Philip joined about 43,000 fans to see the Terrapins beat the University of North Carolina Tar Heels 21-7.
News accounts of the time noted that the royal brow was "often furrowed in perplexity" as Maryland Gov. Theodore R. McKeldin and North Carolina Gov. Luther H. Hodges Jr. gave a running explanation of the game.
After the game, according to newspapers, the royal couple decided to stop at a Giant store because they'd never before seen an American supermarket.
While no one knows what they might do after attending the May 15 Orioles game, the couple is scheduled to leave Washington on the 17th for an official trip to Florida and Texas, Mr. Price said.