Sunday, 3 June 2012

Greeting Royalty

This weekend is for celebration and I can think of no better way to take part in the fun than to join Sian and her merry band of followers for Storytelling Sunday. I am sure there will be some extra special stories to be told in connection with the Queen's Diamond Jubilee. You can link to them here.


It is remarkable to me (where did the years go to?) that I was 6 year's old at the time of The Queen's accession to the throne. I don't have many family photographs of that time but here I am in 1951, aged 5.


I am at a street party in Widnes, visiting my grandparents for the Festival of Britain. I am the girl in the corner of the photograph (nibbling away!) with the enormous bows in my hair. 

Over the years, I have seen the Queen on a few occasions - at a distance, of course! Seeing her up close was in 1986 when she visited Hong Kong. The girls and myself arrived early at Star Ferry and had a prime position overlooking the harbour as the Royal Party arrived on shore. The pomp and ceremony was amazing. A band played and whipped the crowd into a frenzy. We loved every moment.


Two members of the family have had the honour of meeting Royalty. In 1954, dear Uncle Freddie, when he was The Town Clerk in Kampala, Uganda had the pleasure of receiving the Queen. Luckily for our family, he was a very keen photographer and recorded the occasion in a Family Album. 




  
This tour was very early on in The Queen's lifetime of Commonwealth visits and how fortunate am I to witness the commencement of her journey taken through a camera lens held by one of the family.


The third Royal occasion concerns my elder daughter, who at the time was working for itv. She had been involved with the organisation of a Party for John Thaw, the actor, when he retired after Inspector Morse. How well I remember her telling me what a lovely man he was. When he tragically died, aged 60 in 2002, she was asked to organise his Remembrance Service. Prince Charles was to attend the Service but had said that he did not wish his presence to overshadow the occasion. Arrangements were made for him to arrive and leave by a side entrance of St Martin-in-the-Fields. As you can imagine, my daughter was busy rushing around making sure that everything was in place and then at the allotted time, went to greet Prince Charles. As he arrived, she looked down at her feet and realised she was still wearing her trainers, having meant to change into her heeled shoes. Shocked, she blurted this out, much to Prince Charles and the Vicar's amusement. The itv camera man captured it all and when she got back to her office, there she was on her computer screen.




Just to wrap up this rather lengthy post, my elder daughter is presently the General Manager of the Portsmouth FestivitiesGreat Expectations, and at the launch in April, Sheila Hancock, the actress and John Thaw's widow, read an extract from Nicholas Nickleby. My daughter had previously known Sheila because of the events listed above. When Sheila was handed a beautiful bouquet of flowers at the end of the evening, she immediately handed them over to my daughter and said 'You deserve these so much more than I do'. Wasn't that the loveliest thing to do?
If you are in or around the Portsmouth area between 22 June to 1 July 2012, there's a Dickens of a lot going on. Just visit the website and see what is on offer, or add it to Facebook or give it a tweet. Thanks for your support!


Wherever you are, whatever you are involved in this weekend, have a fabulous time.

18 comments:

Amy said...

I have thoroughly enjoyed your story today and you are very lucky to have all of those wonderful photos!

I hope your weekend is also lovely :-)

WendyB said...

Wonderful photos to have, I especially like the one of you at the street party. I love too your daughter in her trainers - priceless.

Alison said...

What wonderful photographs and memories, Irene! Hope things are improving with Rachael
Alison xx

ComfyMom~Stacey said...

Such a great collection of moments & such wonderful photos!

Sian said...

I have thoroughly enjoyed your post today too - so many lovely happy memories and photographs to enjoy all gathered together beautifully! I'll have to tell my Mum about the John Thaw connection - she always was a huge fan:)

Thank you Irene, this is a wonderful Jubilee post for Storytelling Sunday

Mitra Pratt said...

Being from the states we don't have any royalty just politicians!!!! Enjoyed reading about it on your post!

Louise said...

oh wow. I am very impressed that you have such wonderful photos of the queen and your family. I'm also impressed that both your daughters have what sound like fantastic jobs. great story.

Gem's Crafts said...

How lovely that you have these photos and stories of your family meeting the Royals :)

Missus Wookie said...

Shelia is lovely isn't she ? such precious photos and memories.

Chipper said...

I love the photo of the street party. A lovely story. Thank you :-)

furrypig said...

this is a brilliant post and very apt for the Jubilee weekend thanks for sharing it was a great read xxx

Fiona@staring at the sea said...

What a wonderful selection of photos you have in your very interesting post today. I've thoroughly enjoyed reading it. Now just hoping I can get past that tricksy word verification! Fingers crossed :o)

Karen said...

Lovely photos. The one of you at the street party reminded me of how my Nanna used to put enormous white bows in my hair!

scrappyjacky said...

Such interesting photos....and memories.

S said...

Thanks for sharing your royal remembrances with us. While we have our celebrities over here, I believe they pale sadly in comparison to the Royal family. PS I'm a huge John Thaw fan - have seen every episode of Morse at least once, and I thoroughly enjoyed him in A Year in Provence as well.

Mel said...

What great memories of rubbing shoulders with royalty!

Gail said...

What a wonderful royal memory and how lucky to have those pictures.

Ginger said...

Fantastic photos and memories. I have really enjoyed seeing all these stories of the Jubilee. Canada has been very fortunate to have had so many visits from the Royals, but I have not been lucky enough to see them myself :)