Around Town | September 30, 2022 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - September 30, 2022

Around Town

A ROYAL DAY ... March 3, 1983, was no ordinary day at Stanford University. It marked Queen Elizabeth's visit to the campus for a luncheon. The occasion would be the first and only visit to California by the Queen, who died earlier this month. For Jeanne Kennedy, the wife of Stanford's then-President, Donald Kennedy, the occasion was the culmination of weeks of careful, intense, and at times, politically delicate preparations. The luncheon at the Kennedys' residence, Hoover House, called for difficult decisions. For starters, with only 92 seats for guests, whom would they invite? Trustees, vice presidents, deans, faculty, staff members, students all needed to be included. "The students were the hardest," Kennedy recalled during in a speech to a civic club in 2011. "Many of them wrote and asked to be invited. Others developed campaigns where they bombarded Don and me with cakes, singing telegrams, an English breakfast with the London Times, flowers. One even wrote a poem." In the end, though, students were picked by category and not by "creative attention-getting devices." Kennedy and her team also needed to navigate challenges that included thorough security checks, strict royal protocols (do not touch the monarch) and the need to memorize the names and faces of every guest so that each person could be individually introduced to Britain's royal couple, Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip. Of course, the menu was agonized over, but in the end, the California-inspired offerings, including mousse of smoked Pacific salmon and Sacramento Valley asparagus tied with leeks, were a hit. (Well, aside from the chanterelle mushrooms, which the queen "carefully pushed to the side," Kennedy noted.) All went without a hitch, with the prince stating later that the Stanford luncheon had been the highlight of their California trip.

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