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When I think about my time at the Baltimore Orioles, I can only become sentimental about it. Not only did I meet some of my dearest friends there as well as my husband, but I also had opportunities that would otherwise not have been possible had I not worked at both Memorial Stadium and then Camden Yards. The old slogan for the ballclub was Orioles Magic, with a song to go along with it. I’m here to tell you that my time there was pretty magical, and it will always hold a special place in my heart.
How many other jobs offer you the opportunity to receive a wave from Queen Elizabeth and President George Bush? When the Queen attended a game at Memorial Stadium back in 1991—her first baseball game ever—I was working as the assistant director of community relations. She gave me a wave and a smile in the lobby, as only the Queen of the United Kingdom can give, and President Bush waved to me as well. I remember being in awe of her, as I’ve always been enamored with British history, folklore, and literature. She is petite like me, and she wore a red paisley dress, pearls, black gloves, and not a hair on her head was out of place. When I recall this quick interaction we had, as she now holds the title of the longest reign of any monarch in the history of the U.K., I’m further reminded of her duty and how well she has executed her job as sovereign of her country.
Netflix’s recent series called The Crown, based on the life of Queen Elizabeth from her days with her father, King George VI, to the time she ascends to the throne and takes over duties as Queen, has offered an insightful glimpse into the life of Elizabeth. Along with her husband, Prince Philip, and their families, The Crown provides viewers the opportunity to perhaps get to know the side of Elizabeth that we don’t get to see; the reserved Queen is presented as scrupulous, well-meaning, tough, sensitive, and yet fully aware of the duties she is expected to uphold to her country, even when they are very difficult decisions. The interactions the show offers us between the Queen and her husband, Winston Churchill, Anthony Eden, Princess Margaret, as well as with her own mother and father, illustrate the softer side of Elizabeth. And while I know The Crown is a show created to garner ratings, it’s well done and not full of crazy, gratuitous sex and drama. As viewers, we are able to understand the characters because it is directed beautifully and takes its time acquainting us with the characters, their choices, what makes them tick, and why they may have made the decisions they made as the ruling family and associates of the monarchy.
With Season I of The Crown completed, I’m breathlessly looking forward to Season II, which will premier on December 8. Season I ended with Winston Churchill stepping down as Prime Minister and Anthony Eden taking over, Princess Margaret not receiving permission to marry her divorced beau, and the Queen beginning to go it alone without the supreme guidance from Churchill. This series has intrigued me and forced me to look things up and better educate myself on British history, about the lives of these people and their influences in our time. It also makes me consider just how much responsibility it takes to wear a crown. It’s a duty that never goes away. And while her position may be one primarily in name with historical fortitude, the throne remains a high-profile, respected representation of the United Kingdom.
Thank you for the wave all those years ago, Your Majesty. You will never remember me or the instance, but I will forever remember you. I had the pleasure of visiting London with my husband, and toured many of your iconic historical sites, Westminster Abbey, the Tower of London, and Buckingham Palace among them, and I look forward to a return visit soon, especially now that I have an even deeper understanding of your duty and responsibilities and the many years you have served as Queen.
Stephanie Verni is Professor of Business Communication at Stevenson University and is the author of Inn Significant, Baseball Girl, and Beneath the Mimosa Tree. Along with her colleagues Leeanne Bell McManus and Chip Rouse, she is a co-author of Event Planning: Communicating Theory and Practice, published by Kendall-Hunt.