Oh, what a journey of discovery, and what a diet of red herring.
When searching for others experiencing the same problem, I found this posting. “Curious,” thought I.
I tried re-arranging the HTML layout, and damn me twice if putting the character encoding declaration earlier in the file doesn’t fix the problem.
I have to admit being surprised that the spec dictates the encoding be declared in the first 1024 bytes (or 512 bytes before the 2011 version of the HTML 5 spec). I’m even more surprised that a browser would actually re-submit the request to load the page in the case where the page was out of spec. Redraw? Sure! Reload? That’s just crazy.