Woodridge had a meeting where they shared memories of royal encounters, some of which are shared below :
June Kenyon (current Dinner Secretary and Memory Café Co-ordinator)
Some years ago, we were invited to the unveiling of a Blue Plaque in honour of WW Jacobs, a Victorian author whose books my husband collects. The Blue Plaque denoted a building that was his residence between the Wars. We were surprised to then receive a mysterious request to provide our passport numbers for a security check but thought no more of it. On the day a small group of us had gathered for the unveiling ceremony when a limousine drew up and out stepped Prince Charles, our future King. He was on an official visit to the Institute of Architecture next door and had heard about the unveiling. The Jacob’s Society presented him with a special folio edition of the original manuscript of The Monkey’s Paw, a Gothic horror story which is probably one of WW Jacobs best known works. A brief but intimate encounter.
I also encountered Princess Anne when she was on a visit to Woodbridge and stopped to talk to a small group of us whilst on a walkabout of on the Market Hill. Her helicopter had landed in the nearby grounds of Woodbridge School. It is memorable because one of the pupils had left his schoolbag unattended and it was blown up as a possible security risk!
Daphne Rayment (current International Officer)
I once saw the Queen at close quarters. I had a very good centre aisle seat at the opening of the Suffolk College (Civic College) . I can’t remember if it was summer of 1960 or 61 but I had a lovely view of her walking down the aisle and back again when the ceremony was over. My overall impression was of how tiny she was and of her beautiful complexion. I was also in the crowd when she came to Ipswich, and when she came to open Snape Maltings.
I saw Princess Diana fleetingly entering the flower tent at the Suffolk Show. I say fleetingly because I was so busy trying to get a photograph of her and although she was close, I really missed the moment! A lesson learned – photographers take the pictures!
In the early nineties, as a family, we saw Prince Edward. We had a personal smile and wave from him, as we were the only people around at the time. He was visiting one of the well-known sports/social clubs in Rushmere St Andrew.
Deirdre Rothwell (current District Vice Chairman)
This is a photograph of myself and my sister on the steps of Buckingham Palace. This was obviously taken many years ago! I didn’t meet the Queen, but met Prince Philip as I was presented with my Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award.
My only other experience of seeing/meeting royalty was when I took a group of children from Grundisburgh Primary School to Ipswich during the year of the Queen’s Golden Jubilee. We stood by the marina and watched her arrive in her official car, with Prince Philip. Sadly I was too busy looking after the group to take any photos.