Rowlands Castle and the Royals

Over the years, Royal events have brought our community together. Coronations and jubilees provide an opportunity for people to gather on the Village Green in celebration, fostering a sense of national pride and connection to the past.

Meeting Queen Elizabeth II

In 2022 we asked the residents of Rowlands Castle to share their memories of meeting Her Majesty, the late Queen Elizabeth II. From 1953 to 2022, their stories span the reign of our longest serving monarch and give us an insight into the range of achievements of some of our villagers and their families. Please contact the editor if you would like to share your story with us.

Joy Roberts

Joy Roberts was invited to meet Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth  at an Afternoon Party in the Garden of Holyrood House in Edinburgh on Wednesday 24th June 1953. 

“I was 19 and had only just started a new job with W. B. Anderson (fruit importers) in Carlisle. When I asked my boss, Mr Tatum, for the day off he didn’t believe where I was going and turned down my request. I went anyway – you don’t refuse an invitation from the Queen! On returning to work, my boss was not impressed, until I produced the invitation as proof!

I was invited to the Garden Party to accompany my father and mother. My father, Horace Tilzey, had been awarded an MBE in the 1944 King’s Birthday Honours List for his services to the RAF during the Second World War, and we were told that we were likely to be introduced to her Majesty. I practised my curtsey for weeks! We were told exactly what to wear. The Lord Chamberlain wrote to describe suitable attire, including elbow length gloves and a hat. I wore a silvery white tea dress with white gloves and a hat. Morning Dress, Uniform or Lounge Suit for the men. We drove from Carlisle, where we lived at the time, and my mother and I changed in a Service station on the way as we didn’t want to spoil the outfits. 

I have such vivid memories of that wonderful day. Her Majesty stopped to speak to my father and me – she was utterly charming and had skin like porcelain. She wore a pale blue dress with navy suede gloves and a white hat. As she stopped by us, a gust of wind came and she reached up to hold on her hat. Her lady-in-waiting and I both noticed that the gloves had left blue marks on the hat. We exchanged a look, but the lady-in-waiting didn’t tell Her Majesty! Later, we all sat down to tea and strawberries and cream; it was a truly wonderful day.”

Joy has shared the story of her father Horace’s RAF career.

Fiona and Sandra Dinnis

Fiona and Sandra Dinnis shared their photos from 5th June 1984, when their parents met Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh on the occasion of the 40th Anniversary of D-Day.

“Our father, Lt.Cdr. Peter Dinnis,  was a career Naval Officer. He served on board aircraft carriers, including HMS Ramilles when it was bombarding Sword Beach on D-Day. Years later he served at HMS Dryad (Southwick House) near Portsmouth. This was where D-Day was planned and the original wall map remains in situ. As children we were fascinated by the map and our father’s  stories of the war. The visit by Her Majesty was an incredible honour for our parents.

Our mother planned her outfit meticulously and spent hours practising her curtsey! Her excitement was infectious and never forgotten. The photos always had pride of place in our homes.”

David and Joanne Taylor

David and Joanne Taylor, residents of Rowlands Castle have been invited to several Royal Garden parties, in recognition of their work for Team Endeavour Racing.

This is a small charitable not for profit company, supporting wounded, injured and sick serving military personnel and veterans.  The charity trains and races small powerboats, more commonly known as Zapcats or Thundercats.  Each boat has a driver and co-driver who work as a team, very similar to motorbike sidecar racing.

In 2022 the work of Team Endeavour featured in Her Majesty The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Album.

Roger Ironmonger

Roger Ironmonger of Bowes Hill,  was invited to Buckingham Palace on 14th July 2004, to receive the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in Innovation on behalf of his company, Denmead based Primayer.

“My company was involved in developing important environmental equipment, using sound technology to help water companies to detect leaks in their pipes, thus saving thousands of gallons of water. 

In 2004 I was proud to be invited to Buckingham Palace, along with two of my colleagues, to meet Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth and receive the award. The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise are for outstanding achievement by UK businesses in the categories of: innovation, international trade, sustainable development and promoting opportunity through social mobility. 

Before the Reception, we were asked to attend a Briefing meeting, where practical arrangements, such as which door to arrive at, security and etiquette were explained. No cameras were allowed into the event, so the photos I have are stills taken from a video recording of the event, which we were invited to download afterwards.  

On the day of the Reception we arrived at the Palace early and were shown into a waiting room. When the time came we were led into a long hall, and introduced to both Her Majesty and the Duke of Edinburgh. Other royals, Prince Andrew, Prince Edward and the Princess Royal were also present at the event. Following the formal introductions, we assembled in the main hall – a huge room – for drinks and very fancy nibbles. I particularly remember the lovely wines and whisky! We were lucky to be singled out by Her Majesty, who showed a particular interest in our company and the equipment we had developed. She chatted to us for nearly twenty minutes, appearing to be very well-briefed and showing a genuine interest  in us and our work. Later, I also spoke to the other Royals and was particularly impressed with Princess Anne’s knowledge and understanding  of all the companies there; she was charming and professional.

After we left the Palace, we were on a high and the only way to finish the afternoon was to cross over Green Park to the Ritz and order Champagne! We had a truly memorable day. 

To cap it all, when we arrived home to Rowlands Castle, the flag on The Green was flying  in our honour! My lasting memory is of how involved the Queen was in the whole event, how she really wanted to ask questions and find out more. The way in which she engaged and connected with us all earned my utmost respect.”

Emma Barnes

Emma Barnes attended a Royal Garden Party at Buckingham Palace in July 2011 with her mother, Gill Gardiner, in recognition of Gill’s  time spent as a councillor on Wirral Borough Council.

“I was fortunate to be invited as my mother’s plus one to the Palace Garden Party. It was a slightly drizzly day, but the weather didn’t dampen our spirits. I remember marvelling at the palace interior as we passed through to the gardens, feeling surprised that this was part of the invitation. Once in the garden we enjoyed tea, scrumptious cake and dainty sandwiches in a marquee.  After admiring the gardens we entertained ourselves by trying to spot famous faces in the VIP tent.

We felt nervous as the time came for our Royal hosts to arrive, speculating on who it might be. I remember excitedly trying to stifle our giggles having practised our curtsying and adjusting our hats for the umpteenth time. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth was wearing a bright coloured dress that day and was easy to identify when she came out onto the lawns to greet guests.   The moment that we had rehearsed for came when we met Camilla, the then Duchess of Cornwall. I remember her as being very warm and welcoming with an interest in knowing something about everyone that she spoke with. 

It was a very special day out , a celebration of the dedication my Mum has spent in public service and a rare opportunity for a day out for just the two of us that we will treasure forever.”

Matt Hancock

Matt Hancock described how he met Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth whilst working at Cumberland Lodge in Windsor Great Park. Cumberland Lodge is a 75 year old charity with a mission to empower people, through open dialogue and debate, to tackle the causes and effects of social division. Her Majesty became Patron of Cumberland Lodge from 2003, following the passing of the founding Patron, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother.

“I met Her Majesty in my role as Duty Manager and another a few years later as Sales, Marketing and Events Manager. The first visit was part of the Lodge’s 60th anniversary celebrations and Her Majesty was briefly introduced to a few members of staff. I remember her being very pleasant, friendly and certainly knew how to work a room! 

The Lodge was very fortunate being such a close neighbour to Windsor Castle and especially to the Royal Chapel, almost a stone’s throw away. The Royal Chapel is where Her Majesty went to worship on Sundays whilst in residence at the Castle rather than St George’s Chapel,  as she preferred the privacy and intimacy of the Royal Chapel. She was often seen driving herself in the park well into her 90’s, and of course was permitted to drive down the famous Long Walk, which is banned for everyone else! And because of this proximity, Her Majesty visited us for various reasons after Sunday service on occasions.”

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