Washington pulls out the stops for the royal couple's arrival

May 12, 1991|By Susan Baer | Susan Baer,Washington Bureau of The Sun

WASHINGTON -- It's not enough that the general manager of the Sheraton-Carlton Hotel plans to present the Queen of England with 39 English roses, in honor of her 39-year reign, when she and her husband, Prince Philip, visit the hotel this week.

Not enough that the kitchen will prepare tea and scones, cucumber sandwiches, shepherd's pies and miniature lamb chops.

No, the hotel wanted to go the extra mile.

So early in the morning, each of the nearly two dozen waiters and waitresses who will be serving the royal couple will be coiffed and manicured by Milton Pitts, the president's barber.

"We wanted everything to be perfect for the queen," says Kathleen Keenan, director of public relations for the hotel.

Nails and hairdos aside, the visit by 65-year-old Queen Elizabeth II hasn't generated the kind of fervor here that trips by some of the younger, more colorful royals have incited, say some royal watchers.

"There isn't a huge amount of excitement," says Andrew Steven, Washington bureau chief for the London Observer. "The queen has been eclipsed by the younger generation who are always likely to say something wrong. The queen doesn't ever say anything controversial. It's unlikely there's going to be a scandal -- unless Millie lays into the queen."

Still, there's enough interest in the residents of Buckingham Palace to warrant a sprinkling of royal activities around Washington.

Loew's L'Enfant Plaza Hotel is offering an afternoon tea in its lobby lounge this week, featuring such items as "Philip's Figs in Phyllo."

The Four Seasons Hotel is featuring informal modeling of British fashions during its regular afternoon teatime. And several British-based clothing shops such as Burberry's and Jaeger are dressing up their windows.

Those Washington spots that do occupy a place on the queen's itinerary are getting more than their windows spruced up for the occasion.

At the Library of Congress, where the queen is to have lunch Wednesday with such luminaries as Angela Lansbury, Martin Scorsese, Jessica Tandy and Sir Richard Attenborough in a salute to the Festival of British Film and Television, nearly every square inch -- from the mosaic tiles of the floor to the gold plaster rosettes of the ceiling -- has been scrubbed and shined.

"You can see your face in the marble floors now," says spokeswoman Nancy Bush.

And at Mount Vernon, George Washington's home in Virginia where the queen will dedicate a renovated wharf on Thursday, curators are boning up on their British history -- and on protocol.

"People were wondering if they had to wear gloves or if they had to wear hats," spokeswoman Ann M. Rauscher says. "Apparently not."

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.