Queen Elizabeth II: The historic one-week tour that revolutionized Chile

With English punctuality, the RQueen Elizabeth II and her husband, Philip of Edinburgh, stepped on Chilean soil November 11, 1968, landing the plane at the Pudahuel airport three minutes early. It was the beginning of a historical visit to Chile, That would extend until the 18th of that month. The monarch was received by the President Eduardo Frei Montalvaalong with the first lady Maria Ruiz Tagle de Freiand the chancellor of the time, Gabriel Valdés.

“I had never seen so many people in the Alameda with little flags and colored paper”, he commented Silvia Soublette, the wife of the minister of External relationships Chilean to the queen when she asked if Chileans received all foreign guests equally.

Originally the monarch would stay in the Cousino Palace, but a fire that occurred a few days before the arrival of Isabel II forced them to change their plans. So the queen he stayed during the week he was in Chile at the Hotel Carrera. Various Chilean families lent furniture to decorate the top floor of the hotel. In addition, she stayed at the presidential palace in Cerro Castillo.

On Tuesday the 12th, Elizabeth II and her husband deposited a floral offering at the Bernardo O’Higgins monument and visited the National Congress and the Supreme Court. One of the most remembered episodes occurred in the Constitution Plaza. In the presence of thousands of onlookers who chanted her name and waved handkerchiefs, both the monarch and Frei Montalva stood up in the convertible car that moved them to greet the crowd.

The next day the royal couple attended the National Stadium to witness the college classic. At that time the organizer, Rodolfo Soto, used to perform a special show for each duel between Universidad de Chile and Universidad Católica. For that occasion the story was chosen The happy Princeby Oscar Wilde. On the occasion there was another small setback. This, because before arriving at the Isabel II stadium he had planned to have lunch at the Cazadores Regiment, but there was an inconvenience. Frei was advised to change the lunch location and have it at his house. He initially refused. “They are going to say that I am cheeky”, the President would have commented humorously. In the end, however, he agreed and the organizers were able to change the location of the lunch.

On Thursday the 14th, the queen and her husband walked through the Sotomayor Square in Valparaiso before heading to Viña del Mar. Along with visiting various English institutions in Chile, the monarch received a Tribute at the Naval Schoolan event that was repeated in Santiago, this time in the Police School, who made an equestrian presentation.

Elizabeth II with Eduardo Frei Montalva.

Later, on November 15 and 16, the monarchs traveled to Pucon to “rest and learn”, as the official version stated at the time. To receive the illustrious visitors, the government ordered to pave the road between Villarrica and Antumalalwhile the Hotel Antumalal in Pucón bought two special beds to decorate the room that would receive Elizabeth II and Philip of Edinburgh. They arrived in a C-47 plane on a direct flight from Santiago to the Pucón aerodrome, located 7 km from the hotel, accompanied by Foreign Minister Valdés.

During the trip, in addition, Elizabeth II agreed to mediate the Beagle conflict between Chile and Argentina. The matter was agreed upon during a picnic, when Valdés suggested the idea to his British peer, Lord Chalfont. Shortly after, the latter approached the queen and asked her if she could consider that possibility, to which the monarch expressed her willingness to help on the subject, according to the then Director of Protocol Mariano Fontecilla to La Tercera, in 2002. In addition, during their visit to Pucón, the queen’s advisers and the Chilean delegation reportedly secretly negotiated the purchase of two submarines Y about 20 Hawker Hunter aircraftthe same as they became famous for bombing La Moneda in 1973.

Queen Elizabeth II in Pucón. Photo: Copesa

In her last public act before returning to her country, on Sunday, November 17, the monarch was entertained with a lunch at the Equestrian Club. Then he witnessed the Clásico Isabel II. It is said that the queen equestrian fan, bet on the winning horse, Quilche, ridden by Sergio Azócar. Philip of Edinburgh, meanwhile, had had his recess at the Polo Clubwhere he played a game riding Horchata, a horse given to him by President Frei.

At the end of her trip to Chile, Elizabeth II, satisfied with the local organization of her visit, named Fontecilla Sir. A senior diplomatic official who participated in the organization of the visit recalls that on one occasion the queen even She acted as a nurse for the then secretary of protocol, Carlos Klammer. He suffered a throat problem and the monarch found out. She immediately decided to offer him some pills to alleviate the problem.

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