ABC13 VAULT: Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip visited Houston in 1991

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Queen Elizabeth visits Houston in 1991
Here's a look at ABC13's coverage from the historic day the queen visited the Bayou City!

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Queen Elizabeth II dodged a few raindrops 31 years ago as she wound up her three-day visit to Texas with toe-tapping gospel music in Houston's oldest black Baptist church and a visit to Johnson Space Center.

The following story was written by Ben Jaminson with the Associated Press on May 22, 1991 when the queen made her historic visit. That was also the last time the queen and Prince Philip were in Houston.

"She said it rains here and it rains where she lives too," Mayor Kathy Whitmire said after she sat with the queen and Prince Philip under a white awning outside City Hall as a parade of performers streamed by.

Prince Philip chuckled as the Houston Community Choir sang Home on the Range, particularly when the singers reached the line where the skies are not cloudy all day in the midst of a downpour.

At Houston's Antioch Baptist Church, a 125-year-old downtown church, the royal couple appeared at first unprepared for the loud, lively singing by two gospel choirs. But after about 20 minutes, the queen began tapping her toes to the rhythms of the energetic performance.

It was nice, the queen said of the uniquely American music.

It was billed as the Queen and the Baptist. A chance for England's monarch to experience music not often heard in the solemn Church of England. This is what happened that day Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip came to town.

At Johnson Space Center, the queen and prince viewed exhibits of space suits, space food and robots, received a plaque from center officials and toured Mission Control, where U.S. spaceflights are commanded.

The Houston visit, scheduled to end with a private dinner at the Museum of Fine Arts, capped a nine-day U.S. visit that began in Washington and included stops in Florida and Texas.

Queen Elizabeth gave a rare address in Austin, Texas, and she also managed to win over a crowd of fiercely proud Texans.

After the dinner, the queen was to bestow an honorary knighthood on Dallas resident Cecil H. Green in a private ceremony. Green, a British-born U.S. citizen, is an international philanthropist who endowed the Green College at Oxford University. He also is the co-founder of Texas Instruments, Inc.

The queen, 65, was heading Thursday for a private weekend stay in Lexington, Ky., while Prince Philip was heading home.

The original schedule called for the royal visit to coincide with a space shuttle flight, but the mission that was to begin Wednesday was delayed by equipment problems.

The royal couple toured the new Veterans Affairs Medical Center and chatted with a Desert Storm veteran and World War II veteran.

"She's more attractive than I thought," said 22-year-old Army Spec. Delman Orme, recovering from a head injury suffered in Kuwait. "I thought the Majesty was very pretty for her age."

While the queen met briefly with Orme at the veterans hospital, Prince Philip traded Navy stories with Edd Athon, a Navy Air Corps tailgunner in World War II.

At the parade, Houstonians lined parking multi-decked parking garages and peered down from glassed-in skywalks to get a glimpse of the monarch.

"I was in London the day she was crowned," said Ruth Weber of Houston who stood in the rain for more than an hour to get about a 20-second glimpse of the royal couple. "It was worth it."

The Associated Press contributed to this story.