LARAMIE — The death of Queen Elizabeth II on Thursday morning sparked a global wave of nostalgia and reflections on her 70 years on the English throne, the longest reign in British history.
It also tapped into the memories of some in the Cowboy State who recall the four days the monarch spent vacationing in Wyoming.
The royals were guests of Lady Porchester at the 4,000- acre Canyon Ranch near Big Horn, according to an October 1984 report by United Press International.
Porchester was the sister of then Wyoming Sen. Malcom Wallop. She also was the wife of Lord Porchester, a family friend.
UPI reports that during her brief stay in northern Wyoming, the queen spoke by telephone with President Ronald Reagan and first lady Nancy Reagan.
She reportedly said she was “very grateful” for the low-key nature of her visit and that local residents and the media respected her private time.
Although logistics prevented the monarch from attending Sunday church services, the UPI report says the queen instead visited The Brinton Museum in Big Horn. She spent time talking with the museum’s assistant director Dan Nelson about its collection of art. She also visited with Brinton caretaker Andy Kukuchka.
Kukuchka reported that the queen “asked him about the area where she planned to picnic later in the day,” according to the UPI story. Also, “The queen hoped to see some elk and perhaps a moose in the area.”
The news agency also described some of Queen Elizabeth’s other activities while in Wyoming.
“The queen spent a most enjoyable day Saturday, first on a shopping trip in Sheridan and Big Horn, then a picnic on the Wallop ranch,” UPI reported. “The queen stopped at two Sheridan stores, Ritz Sporting Goods and King’s Saddlery. At Ritz Sporting Goods, store owner Stan Mavrakis, who had tied fishing flies for her husband, Prince Philip, 15 years (earlier) gave the queen a handmade graphite fishing rod and a box of flies to give to the prince.
“The queen was presented with a hand-tooled leather wastebasket and purchased a pair of leather gloves for herself and gifts for the rest of the royal family at King’s Saddlery.”
The UPI story also recorded that 96-year-old Ethyl Crawley of Casper gave her a hand-knitted coat made for the queen’s then-new grandchild, Prince Henry.
Immediately upon Queen Elizabeth II’s death, her oldest son Charles, 73, automatically became king, according to the Associated Press.
He’ll be known as King Charles III, although it may be months before a formal coronation may take place.
At the direction of President Joe Biden, Gov. Mark Gordon has ordered both the United States and Wyoming flags to be flown at half-staff in honor and remembrance of the queen. Flags will remain at half staff until the day of interment.