Trudy Busch Valentine was the Queen of Whites-only pageant: report

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An heiress to the Anheuser-Busch Brewery fortune running from Missouri for the Democratic nomination for the US Senate was crowned queen of a whites-only beauty pageant in the 1970s, according to a new report from The Intercept.

Trudy Busch Valentine won the crown of “Queen of Love and Beauty” at the St. Louis Veiled Prophet Ball in 1977 – at a time when the competition specifically forbade entry for people of color and Jews.

Photos unearthed by the outlet show Busch Valentine, who entered Monday’s Senate primary, alongside the eponymous “Veiled Prophet,” who wore a white sheet over his head resembling the robe of the Ku Klu Klan.

The pageant was denounced by The Office actress Ellie Kemper last June when it was revealed she had won the same crown in 1999.

Trudy Busch Valentine is the heir to the Anheuser-Busch fortune and is running for the Democratic nomination for the Missouri Senate.
YouTube/Trudy Busch Valentine

“The centuries-old organization that hosted the debutante ball undoubtedly had a racist, sexist and elitist past,” Kemper said at the time.

While Kemper claimed ignorance of the organization’s history, two civil rights activists were arrested for demonstrating against the ball the year Busch won Valentine, The Intercept reported, adding that the event was held amid extremely tight security.

Busch Valentine told the Post she “didn’t fully grasp the situation” when she attended the ball.

Trudy Busch-Valentine
Busch Valentine was once crowned queen of a ball that excluded Jews and people of color.
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Trudy Busch Valentine
Busch Valentine told the Post she “didn’t grasp the situation” when she entered the contest.
YouTube/Trudy Busch Valentine

“I believe in the importance of working together and healing divisions — and that starts with acknowledging my own past shortcomings,” Busch Valentine said. “I should have known better, and I deeply regret and apologize that my actions have hurt others. My life and work goes far beyond that, and as the candidate for Missouri’s next U.S. Senator, I pledge to work tirelessly to be a force for progress in healing our country’s racial divisions.”

Busch Valentine apparently returned to the ball at least twice after winning the Queen of Love and Beauty crown, including once in 1990 despite years of protests from civil rights activists.

Busch Valentine is running for the vacant Senate seat vacated by Republican Sen. Roy Blunt, who announced his retirement in March 2021. She is the daughter of longtime Anheuser-Busch chairman and former owner of the St. Louis Cardinals, August Anheuser “Gussie” Busch Jr., and the great-granddaughter of German-born Anheuser-Busch co-founder Adolphus Busch.



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