Looking at the long term weather forecast before the day, it seemed that Tuesday 2nd June would be unusually Autumnal for the time of year. A dreadful night on Monday with high winds & heavy rain with falling trees expected. However…
…is how it turned out, the coach arrived at 9.45am prompt in the wind & rain to pick us up from our windswept car park in Chichester and we set off towards a coffee stop at Guildford Cathedral.
The Green of the Cathedral roof welcomed us through the gloom of the rain. After a hot drink to charge our batteries, we made good time up to the Palace, excitement growing as we saw the rain easing off so it was hats & fascinators on all round, in the hope that the wind would follow suit & ease off.
In our approach to the palace, a sea of colour met us as all around Marble Arch. Ladies from all parts of the United Kingdom gathered to form colourful queues around the palace as we waited for our 2pm entry, invitations in hand with laughter at sharing our photographic ID disasters with new friends!
Blues & Reds!
Our wonderful emergency & armed services encouraged us to move quickly through the main gate towards the Palace Quadrangle, to filter through the main Palace entrance corridors, under sparkling chandeliers, then out in a huge puff of wind onto the manicured lawns of the Palace – hats held tightly on!
Every colour thinkable!..& some more!
An amazing sight! Around 8,000 stunning ladies looking unbelievably beautiful, and everyone seemed to lose each other from our areas as the overwhelming throng made their way to the different points of interest including two Royal Bandstands, the gardens, the very large tea & lunch area or the seating area.
Jan Marsden & I made our way to the lake then along to the most stunning Rose garden to admire the gorgeous Yellow Roses & others varieties in the rose garden, also the informal way the layout allowed space for wild plants to encourage wildlife into the London location.
Cream & Navy!
As we walked back, The National Anthem announced the arrival of HRH The Duchess of Cornwall dressed in Cream & Navy accompanied by HRH The Countess of Wessex, The Duchess of Gloucester & Princess Alexandra who filtered gracefully through the crowds towards the Royal Tent.
Pink & coffee!
Time for Tea. We had lost Jan in the crowds so queued for iced coffee, pink Battenburgs, tiny tasty sandwiches of exquisite flavours, beautiful little pastries & fruit cakes in miniature which we all piled on to the smallest plates I have ever seen but, in true WI form, we “Brick stacked” ours to maximum effect! Followed by strawberry ice cream &..
Barley Water. Then the Beefeaters returned so we made our way to where the Royal Tent was, so we could watch the Royal Party depart. As they walked past, the crowds broke out in song & Jerusalem gently warbled across the gardens in the high winds. This was followed by the National Anthem.
The sun came out!! So did many cameras – now the Royal Party had gone we all started to snap away to cement our day in pictures. What a time we had!!
Now time to retrace our steps back to the Coach. Many of us looked for our coaches in Park Lane, which seemed liked miles away. We soon realised why our Woods driver gave us our Coach Registration. Coaches… all white as far as the eye could see!! Still, we found ours, last one of course. Then the bliss of a long sit down back to West Sussex our…
… and pleasant land!! What a memory.
Thank you Bognor Regis evening WI for mine.
~ Sue Austin