Historic Presentations  ›  My Day: Eleanor Roosevelt Chronicles Life and Work in the White House


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"My Day" by Eleanor Roosevelt

August 7, 1942


WASHINGTON, Thursday—Yesterday afternoon, with the rain falling intermittently and gray skies, the Queen of the Netherlands came to Washington. It was an unpublicized visit, so even had the weather been kind, there would have been no opportunity for crowds to gather in the streets.



President and Mrs. Roosevelt welcome Queen Wilhelmina.
Franklin D. Roosevelt Library

However, the Queen was cheered several times along the way to the White House and by the few people who could see her shake hands with the President, as she reached the car near which he was standing.

The President had arranged to drive the Queen around the circle in front of the Capitol, so she could get an idea of the buildings. Then we proceeded slowly between the lines of marines and solders with bands playing at intervals all the way down the avenue. The queen bowed and smiled at the soldiers standing at attention. Whereever people braved the rain to stand on the sidewalk to greet her, she responded warmly. I sat on the little seat in the car in front of the President and tried not to block the view of my two important companions.

I think I know what the aides to important people must feel like. They are always trying to obliterate themselves, and yet at the same time they must remember to be sufficiently responsive so that if the principals are busy talking, the people on the sidewalk will have one welcoming look.

On reaching the White House, we stood under the awning while photographs were being taken. Then we went into the diplomatic room to present the members of the Cabinet and the members of the Foreign Affairs Committees of the Senate and House to Her Majesty.

After a brief few minutes upstairs, she went at once to greet the diplomats who were waiting for her in the Blue Room. Then the Queen was allowed a little peace and quiet until we met again for dinner at 8:00 o'clock. She is a very punctual lady and was ready before our last guests had come in. I think we were on our way downstairs at one minute after eight!

After dinner we had one news reel, and then an ensemble from Hampton Institute sang spirituals and a few modern songs for three-quarters of an hour. This ended the entertainment and, after a brief chat, we all separated to meet again this morning in time for my press conference.

To people unaccustomed to meeting newspaper correspondents in different countries, it must seem somewhat of an ordeal to face about thirty women, but I think the Queen enjoyed her experience. She is a gracious, friendly person and I think everyone who meets her responds to these qualities.

E.R.

Copyright, 1942, by United Feature Syndicate, Inc.


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Eleanor Roosevelt. White House Collection



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