Queen's visit

Photo:The Queen with Peter Stocker

The Queen with Peter Stocker

Her Majesty and I

By Peter Stocker

I was one of about 90 local people who were invited to meet the Queen and Prince Philip at the Dome during her visit to Brighton on Thursday 8th March 2007.

A sunny day

It was a gloriously sunny day and my first impression as I walked down Church St was where on earth did they find so many police? We must have had every serving officer in Sussex there!

My group

After going through a couple of security checks I entered the Dome and was directed to 'my group'. I had been asked to be a group leader and introduce the other nine people in my group to the Queen and Prince Philip. Most of my group were Duke of Edinburgh Award winners or organisers, another was from the Business & Community Partnership and another was a North Laine resident who was there on behalf of a gay community group.

Meeting Prince Philip and the Queen

A hush descended on the hall at 11.30am as the Queen and Prince Philip entered and introductions started. Our group first met Prince Philip, who was very friendly and had a word for everybody. Then the Mayor escorted the Queen to us and, as we shook hands (something I did not expect!), Her Majesty asked what North Laine was. I told her it was a conservation area in central Brighton, just outside the Dome, with about 400 small traders and many residents. She asked how trade was and I think I said something lame like "not too bad" (well, I was talking to the Queen and it all seemed a bit overwhelming!). I then introduced her to the group and she spent a few minutes talking to us all and asking the Award winners how they had enjoyed their tasks.

The Queen then moved on to the next group and we all visibly relaxed.

I think everyone in the building enjoyed the morning and I was amazed at how attentive and interested Her Majesty had been. It must be an incredibly wearing job to do. Yes, I know there are perks like the odd castle and uniformed men marching up and down outside - but she does do it well!

[Previously published in the 'North Laine Runner', No 185, March/April 2007]

This page was added on 02/04/2008.

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