Queen Marie of Romania visited North Dakota on this date in 1926, traveling through the state from Fargo to Montana. She stopped at several small towns and greeted North Dakotans, receiving several tokens of welcome along the way.
The wife of Ferdinand I of Romania, Queen Marie cut an exciting and glamorous figure in 1920s America. She had a reputation for being very progressive, keeping up with the latest fashions, and her traveling adventures and extramarital affairs filled the pages of newspapers around the world. During World War I, the Queen had even volunteered and trained as a Red Cross nurse, and was largely credited with commanding the Romanian forces on behalf of the Allies.
In 1926, Marie decided to take two of her children, Prince Nicholas and Princess Ileana, on a trip to North America. The Ford Motor Company offered $500,000 to sponsor the adventure, and the Queen set off on a cross-country trek from New York City on October 18th. She traveled and attended functions in Brooklyn, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Niagara Falls, Toronto, Winnipeg, and Minneapolis, before reaching North Dakota on her train car.
“Large crowds greeted Marie at Fargo, Valley City, Bismarck, and Mandan” and included cowboys, farmers, social leaders, and Native Americans. She received gifts from the well-wishers, including “…a plow, a harvesting machine, a cow, a few horses, and a sewing machine.” At Mandan, the Sioux tribe initiated the Queen into the tribe, carrying her into a teepee on a buffalo robe, performing a sacred naming ceremony, and placing a war bonnet upon her head. Chief Red Soma Tomabarok named the Queen “The Woman Who Was Waited For.” Afterward, the Queen donned a five-gallon hat and attended the local rodeo. In Medora, cowboys and cowgirls greeted the Queen, performing a Wild West show. Marie and her children joined the westerners for a horseback ride into the Badlands before returning to the train for dinner.
The following morning, the Queen arrived in Montana. She would go on to visit the West Coast and much of the Midwest before returning to New York at the end of November. She left New York on November 24th aboard the ship Berengaria, bound for home. From the deck of the ship, she thanked the American citizenry for making her trip a memorable one, and expressed her wish to return someday.
Dakota Datebook written by Jayme L. Job