Queen Elizabeth II has died. Britain’s longest-serving monarch, Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor, died Thursday at age 96 at Balmoral Castle, her estate in Scotland.
The palace issued a black-bordered statement about 6.30 p.m. local time: “The Queen died peacefully at Balmoral this afternoon. The King and The Queen Consort will remain at Balmoral this evening and will return to London tomorrow.”
Her eldest son and heir, Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, 73, immediately became King Charles III upon her death. His wife became Queen Consort Camilla.
Over the years, King Charles III and other members of the royal family have visited Palm Beach County. Prince Charles and Princess Diana have played polo in Wellington. Their son, Prince Harry, visited in 2016 to play a charity polo match.
Queen Elizabeth’s visits to the Sunshine State, however, were rare. While the queen has never been to Palm Beach County, she briefly visited South Florida in the early ’90s during a two-week trip to America.
Here’s a look back at when the queen graced Florida with her presence and what she did while she was here.
Queen Elizabeth visited Miami
In 1991, Queen Elizabeth and her husband, Prince Philip, the royal family and their entourage embarked on a two-week trip to America.
The queen arrived by jet. Then-Gov. Lawton Chiles and former Miami Mayor Xavier Suarez welcomed her majesty and Prince Philip at Miami International Airport.
The Royals then spent time at Booker T. Washington Middle School for performances and a tour. They also met two “miracle” children from Miami Children’s Hospital. According to the Miami Herald, she and Prince Philip were given five Miami Children’s Hospital wristwatches for their five grandchildren.
She and the prince received many gifts upon their arrival.
However, a formal presentation for the queen at the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens was cut short by rain.
Then President Ronald Reagan and First Lady Nancy Reagan visited South
Florida to meet the queen.
Queen Elizabeth visited the Florida Keys
On May 18, 1991, Queen Elizabeth visited and Prince Philip, arrived at Fort Jefferson in Dry Tortugas National Park by ship, according to a write-up on fla-keys.com. The couple, arriving via the royal yacht the Britannia, had visited the Keys as a brief stopover on the way to New Orleans after spending several days in Miami, the story states.
Then-Mayor Wilhelmina Harvey presented the queen with a conch shell.
Queen Elizabeth visited Tampa
Of the eight cities on the two-week trip to the States, the queen’s visit to Tampa wound up being the shortest.
This time, she arrived by ship.
At 8:45 a.m. May 20, 1991, Queen Elizabeth arrived at Harbor Island on board the Britannia. She and Prince Philip emerged from the yacht just before 10 a.m., according to an archived report from Fox 13 Tampa Bay.
Then-Tampa Mayor Sandy Freedman welcomed the queen.
The royal couple then traveled by motorcade to the city center esplanade and the University of Tampa for a reception.
In a so Florida move, the city of Tampa gifted the queen a crystal palm tree with an inscription. In her thank-you to the city, here’s what Queen Elizabeth said: “Thank you very much, Madame Mayor, for this marvelous present and for the very warm welcome which we have received from the people of Tampa Bay. We are delighted to be here.”
After that, the royal couple traveled to MacDill Air Force Base to honor General Norman Schwarzkopf. According to Fox 13 Tampa Bay, the queen knighted the general, the highest honorary accolade that could be given to a foreigner. The general and his wife briefed the queen on the mission in the Persian Gulf, in which he had guided the troops.
The royal couple then left MacDill and headed to Texas.
Fox 13 Tampa Bay reported they left the city at 12:15 p.m.
Contributing: USA TODAY