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When the Beatles Came to Washington

Thursday, January 30, 2014

“We always tried to get out of those crap things, but that time we got caught,” George Harrison recalled, referring to the Beatles’ visit to the British Embassy after their first US concert, held at the old Washington Coliseum on February 11, 1964. Accustomed, after a year of Beatlemania in Britain, to the crush of official events, the Fab Four were dreading it. Then they caught a slight, if short-lived, break.

Earlier that night, Donna Constantinople, née Marshall, the daughter of a prominent DC businessman, had been whisked by official limousine to the concert with three friends—the daughter of the undersecretary of the Navy, the niece of the French ambassador, and another friend from her high school. Sometime past midnight, the girls found themselves in the British ambassador’s private living room on the top floor of the residence with ambassador David Ormsby-Gore, his wife, and Beatles manager Brian Epstein. Then it happened. “A door opened,” Constantinople recalls. “They came in, and no one else came in. It was an overwhelming feeling. No one was speaking at all. It was pregnant.” A half hour of quiet drinks later, the Beatles ventured downstairs and immediately hundreds of diplomats and their wives swarmed them, demanding autographs. “It was horrifying. 

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Source: The Washingtonian

Photo Credit: Donna Constantinople

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