HOUSTON — Queen Elizabeth II made history in 1991 when she toured Texas, becoming the first sitting British monarch to visit the Lone Star State. There was Texas-sized hospitality at every stop.
Her Houston stops with Prince Philip included Antioch Missionary Baptist Church which was founded by former slaves in the 1860s.
Longtime members of the landmark downtown church still remember that special day more than three decades ago and will cherish the memory fondly with news that the queen has died at age 96.
Sam Fontaine, who's been a member for 76 years, said he stood feet from the royals.
"It was huge," Fontaine said in 2021 after Prince Philip's death. "Had people who couldn’t get in the church.”
Fontaine said a number of choirs joyously filled the sanctuary as Philip and the Queen listened closely.
"Actually, this was the exact pew that they sat on back in 1991,” Pastor Lou McElroy said on the 30th anniversary of the visit.
The pastor said music was the main reason the couple visited the church.
"As the story goes, she was visiting Houston and wanted to hear some gospel music," McElroy said. "Some good southern gospel music.”
As Fontaine recalled, the typically stoic ruler got the spirit that day.
"Regardless of color, denomination, regardless of your birth or wealth, the one thing that brings us all together is Jesus Christ," McElroy said. "She was patting her feet so evidently she liked it.”
In addition to the church, other Houston area stops in 1991 included Johnson Space Center, the VA Hospital and Westlawn Elementary School in La Marque.