Heritage

Queen Elizabeth Once Hosted the Apollo 11 Astronauts at Buckingham Palace

Take a look back at Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins, and Buzz Aldrin's visit with the royal family right here.
IMAGE HULTON ARCHIVE / GETTY IMAGES
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When the third installment of The Crown, the Netflix series about Queen Elizabeth's early reign, premieres later this year, it will include an episode centered around the Apollo 11 lunar landing.

Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the moon during the summer of 1969, which puts the historic event squarely in the season's reported timeline of 1963-1977. But as always with The Crown, showrunner Peter Morgan will look at the iconic scientific achievement through the lens of the royal family.

"We’ve just been shooting a really interesting episode which was all tied into the moon landings in ’69," Tobias Menzies, who will play Prince Philip in season three, revealed to Radio Times earlier this year.

"[Showrunner] Peter [Morgan] has taken this angle that Philip gets very absorbed by the heroism of these men compared to what maybe he hasn’t done with his own life," he said.

"That’s what’s interesting about the show: he takes surprising bits of history and then views the characters through the prism of those events. That was really fun to do."

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Tobias Menzies as Prince Philip in The Crown.
Photo by NETFLIX.

Morgan could also put his spin on the message Queen Elizabeth sent with the astronauts as they headed into space.

The British monarch was one of many heads of state who wrote a statement in honor of the moonwalk, but apparently Buckingham Palace was less than thrilled with the whole idea, and even called it a "gimmick."

"Her Majesty agrees that this idea is a gimmick and it is not the sort of thing she much enjoys doing but she certainly would not wish to appear churlish by refusing an invitation which is so obviously well-intentioned," wrote the Queen’s then private secretary, Michael Adeane at the time, reports the Guardian.

Eventually, though, the Queen did send the following message, which was carried onto the moon on a small disc with notes from the figureheads and leaders of 72 other countries:

"On behalf of the British people, I salute the skills and courage which have brought man to the moon. May this endeavor increase the knowledge and well-being of mankind."

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Prince Edward greets Prince Andrew at Buckingham Palace.
Photo by PA IMAGES / GETTY IMAGES.

Just a few months after the moon landing, astronauts Michael Collins, Neil Armstrong, and Buzz Aldrin traveled to Buckingham Palace as part of their world tour, and met with not only the Queen, but also a young Prince Edward, Princess Anne, and Prince Philip.

But the day wasn't without a few hiccups. Aldrin once posted on social media that Michael Collins "almost fell down the stairs trying not to turn his back on Queen Elizabeth II." And Neil Armstrong had a bad cold that day, but his wife insisted on going.

See a few photos from that visit here:

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Queen Elizabeth poses with Michael Collins, Neil Armstrong, and Buzz Aldrin at Buckingham Palace.
Photo by BETTMANN / GETTY IMAGES.

Queen Elizabeth and Prince Andrew talk with Neil Armstrong
Photo by PA IMAGES / GETTY IMAGES.

*This article originally appeared on Townandcountrymag.com

*Minor edits have been made by the Townandcountry.ph editors

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