A dance with the princess

Check it out: It's film clip from the 1959 ball at the Washington Ave Armory honoring then Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands. The clip includes of the princess dancing with Nelson Rockefeller. We came across the video today via The Albany Muskrat, who you should be following on Twitter.

Other than the hey-how-about-that factor, so what? Well, the Princess Beatrix's visit is said to have been the catalyst for Rockefeller to push for the creation of the Empire State Plaza, because the condition of the city embarrassed him as he and the princess toured the city. (A later visit from Danish royalty apparently had a similar effect.)

Beatrix was in Albany as part of a tour of the Hudson Valley for the 350th anniversary of Henry Hudson's voyage up the river. The 21-year-old princess arrived in the city via 65-foot yacht, and disembarked looking "radiant in her gray shantung dress with matching hat and belt."

The next day was the ball at the armory. From Albany Knickerbocker News coverage of the event:

The Princess was in her palace and the guests were entertained by red-coated trumpeters blaring martial airs.
Washington Ave Armory never looked so splendid as it did for the Albany Hudson-Champlain Ball on Saturday night.
Dazzling white drapery transformed its usual cavernous interior into a white marble pleasure dome of Xanadu. Her Royal Highness, Princess Beatrix of The Netherlands smiling regally...
Plans had called for the the princess and Governor Rockefeller's party to remain at the ball "about 10 minutes." But Beatrix, caught up in the music, dancing and gaiety, asked for an extension of the time limit. Results: The official party stayed more than an hour, 11 pm to 12 am.
The princess danced first with Governor Rockefeller, several times with Mayor Corning.

The next day Beatrix would tour Schenectady and Troy. And then it was back to The Netherlands.

Beatrix would return to Albany 23 years later, as Queen Beatrix -- and got a tour of the Empire State Plaza.

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