35 years ago, I encountered a day I’ll treasure forever. A timeless event imprinted on my brain. It was the day I met the Queen and Prince Philip, aged just 14.
The Queen and Prince Philip came to Canterbury, Kent, in 1987. My form (2 Mark) of The Archbishops School, Canterbury, was allowed out of school to line the streets to welcome them to the city. We cheered and waved along the road just by the Westgate Towers.
I remember that the headmaster (Mr Hogarth) had selected star pupils to give the queen a large bouquet of flowers when she arrived. Feeling a little put out that I didn’t have a bunch of flowers, I decided to buy my own. I gathered some money from my best friend, Victoria Heywood (now Victoria Murphy) and my boyfriend, John Dodsworth. I headed off to the local greengrocer (who so is still there today, I can’t recall the name, though) to buy whatever bunch we could. It amounted to a small number of Narcissus Daffs, but I was as proud as punch!
Although this caption posted by John last week says different 😊 whom I have not seen or spoken to since I left school! It was so lovely of him to post it.
I waited patiently as the royal couple arrived and started walking down the street. Holding my bunch up high, Prince Philip approached us. ‘Are they for the Queen?’ he asked. I said, ‘yes, they are. Can you give them to her please?’ he replied ‘why don’t you give them to her yourself. I looked at the high barrier in front of us (I have always been short) and my school skirt and immediately thought I couldn’t get over there. Before I knew it, Philip was lifting me over the barrier, and I ran past all my school friends to join the end of the line of brownies waiting to meet the queen.
I stood out, but I didn’t care. I was going to meet the queen. I couldn’t quite believe it.
She got to me, and I honestly can’t remember what she said. I was that excited. I think she asked me how I was and what school I was from. I did my curtsey and handed her my bunch of flowers which looked quite pathetic next to all the large florist bouquets. That day I felt so lucky!
I ran back to my friends only to be stopped by a journalist to ask me about my experience. After that, I felt famous – haha!
As we headed back to school, I ran up the stairs to the pay box to ring my Mum. I could hardly get the words out. ‘I’ve met the queen, I’ve met the Queen Mum’, I shouted down the phone, out of breath.
When I got home, two journalists called me, and I was in a couple of the local papers.
I still have the cuttings in a green scrapbook, but I think they are buried in the loft. Unfortunately, I am working from Madrid today, so I can’t share the press clippings. Still, I thought I’d share the story with you as we mourn a remarkable woman.
I wonder if she had a paper diary or planner!?