A date with Her Majesty the Queen was enjoyed by Clitheroe Ramblers veteran Pat Parrott and her companion, Val Grooby.
It was a memorable day for Pat who was invited to rub shoulders with royalty at Buckingham Palace’s garden party in recognition of her services to the community, 50 years of work in the protection of footpaths and provision of access in the Ribble Valley countryside.
Travelling down to London by first class train, in all their finery, Pat and Val, who is an active and supportive footpath worker, arrived at Green Park Tube Station in view of the palace, with guests already arriving and queuing up all along Constitution Hill.
They were soon admitted and spent about an hour walking around the gardens in warm sunshine, amongst some of the best-dressed people in England. All the ladies wore beautiful hats, or the new-fashioned fascinators, the men in morning dress with grey top hats or tail suits with black top hats, or elegant suits, frequently worn with ties or waistcoats to match the outfits of their lady partners. Val and Pat tried hard not to be intimidated by being amongst such elegant company.
At 4 pm, the national anthem heralded the arrival of the Queen and the royal party, including Prince Phillip and Prince and Princess Michael of Kent and other members of the royal family. Pat and Val were not themselves presented to the Queen, but took their places amongst the crowds lining her route to get a close view of her approach to the Royal Tea Tent. The Queen was tastefully dressed in lilac and looked lovely, as did the overseas visitors to the diplomatic tea tent, many resplendent in their national costumes.
Three bands were playing during most of the visit, the Yeoman of the Guard paraded around the grounds, the sun shone throughout and at 6 pm the national anthem was played again, announcing that the Royal Party had left and all the guests were free to leave finding on their way out that they were of great interest to crowds of people outside the Palace watching them cross to the main gains.