Chair’s Blog: My trip to the palace
10th May 2023
Days before the Coronation of King Charles III, the Chair of Three Rivers District Council and her consort represented the council at a special garden party in the grounds of Buckingham Palace. Cllr Debbie Morris reflects on her royal appointment for tea.
I blinked as I stepped out of Hyde Park Corner station into the blazing sunshine of central London. My excitement levels – already high – rapidly mounted as my husband Andrew and I joined the gathering crowds assembled by the entrance gates to Buckingham Palace. We were all clutching our entrance tickets and photo ID as we lined up to go through security – and then we were in! Through the famous iron gates and shuffling as one into the expansive lawns and exquisitely laid gardens to the rear of that famous façade. The band struck up and the party had begun!
I had been invited to attend the garden party to mark the coronation of King Charles III. We had been given a timetable of events for the afternoon but were delighted to see that the tea tent had opened before schedule so off we went to select some sandwiches and cakes. We found a couple of chairs overlooking the lake, from which we marvelled at the honour to be invited to such a prestigious event.
We had no idea which members of the royal family would be present but were thrilled when HM King Charles III and HM Queen Camilla stepped out onto the terrace along with the Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh with others. The national anthem was played before the King and Queen started to walk down two different channels of guests who’d all lined up beforehand hoping to get a handshake. We happened to be where the Queen was. I held my breath as she came closer, my pulse racing... would I get a handshake? And I did! In fact, I got more than a handshake as she stopped to admire my chain of office. I tried to explain who I was and where Three Rivers was too, but I got rather tongue-tied in the process. It was apparent that I was not accustomed to speaking to royalty.
After my encounter with the Queen, we raced over to see if we could get close to the King but that wasn’t to be. So instead we wandered around the gardens, Andrew had an ice cream tub and we chatted away to several of the other guests. Amongst them were charity workers, members of the armed forces and emergency services, faith leaders and politicians.
As the temperature started to drop and the party wound down, we began our journey home, sharing photos of our time at the Palace with friends and family. I was still smiling by the time I crawled into bed later that night, legs aching, as I reflected on a wonderful afternoon I’ll never forget.