In 1976, on her second visit to New York City, Queen Elizabeth spent an afternoon in Bloomingdale’s with Prince Philip — likely a public relations stunt agreed to on both the department store and the royalty sides. The New York Times reported that “the Queen seemed slightly bewildered” throughout the afternoon. 

The same Marvin Traub, who dreamt up the Le Train Bleu restaurant told The New York Post that Queen Elizabeth “didn’t choose Saks, and she didn’t choose Bergdorf — she chose Bloomingdale’s.” Another Bloomingdale’s employee told the New York Times, “we thought — and the Queen agreed — that it would be a very American experience for her to go amidst all the crowds and just pretend she might be shopping.”

Regardless, the Queen’s arrival at Bloomingdale’s meant a reversing of traffic on Lexington Avenue so that she could get out of her car on the right side. As The Bowery Boys describe, she then went “quietly” from floor to floor looking at the goods, admiring the British imports. She also witnessed a fashion show and met designers including Calvin Klein, one of many New York fashion designers. The Prince was also shown Bloomingdale’s best sellers at the time, including a “Talking Calculator” and a pet rock.

Next, check out the top 10 secrets of Bloomingdale’s Department Store in New York City!