116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Mason City still remembers the day Prince Philip stopped briefly at the city’s airport.
The prince arrived — on Nov. 5, 1969 — aboard a twin-engine Andover aircraft. He stepped off the plane wearing English tweeds, waving to an appreciative crowd, some of them waving flags and many taking photos of the prince.
It was a refueling stop for the plane, which was taking the prince to Washington, D.C., to meet with President Richard Nixon.
Fuel trucks were waiting, but city officials weren’t prepared for the prince’s unexpected request for food.
The airport’s restaurant was closed for renovations, so a Mason City airport commissioner sped to a local grocery store. He got back too late, after the prince’s plane had taken off.
“I hope the President feeds him well tonight,” airport manager Robert Fricker told the Mason City newspaper.
Brief though the prince’s visit was, it was a thrill for the teenagers who got time off school to see the royal visitor.
“I was shocked,” Marcia Ambrose, 16, told a Globe Gazette reporter. “He didn’t look like what we expected at all.”
The Mason City mayor presented the key to the city to Prince Philip in an airport conference room. The ceremony was mostly private, the Globe Gazette reported, perhaps because of what the prince had said after receiving the key to Canada during an earlier stop on his trip.
“Oh, lord, not another one,” he was quoted as saying.