Diane’s day at the Palace

Diane Claridge - Palace-w500-h500

Diane Claridge at the WI Centenary Garden Party on 2 June 2015

I had a truly wonderful and memorable day at the Buckingham Palace WI Centenary Garden party.  The excitement started as we arrived to join the coach at Wigston.  To see so many ladies in their finery and hats, especially when three coaches stopped for a comfort break at Toddington services, was quite a sight.  

When we arrived at the palace we joined the long queue to have our ID’s checked before going through the main gates to the inner courtyard and through two galleries full of beautiful flowers and works of art, before emerging on to the terrace. There was a brass band playing and 12 Yeoman of the guard looking extremely colourful in their uniforms.  The weather was kind, the tea and cakes were amazing, miniature Victoria sandwich cakes, raspberry tarts, tiny eclairs and even a fun sized Battenburg cake!   

But the real icing on the cake was being invited, with a few others, to be personally introduced to Sophie, Countess of Wessex. We shook hands and had a little chat, she told us her daughter is doing exams at school and we had a laugh when she said she regretted wearing a flimsy dress on such a windy day! We saw the ‘Calendar Girls’ and the Duchess of Cornwall at a distance. The range of fashions was a real spectacle with some stunning hats and outfits of every colour imaginable. It was especially good to talk to ladies from all over the country and hear about their WI meetings. The only downside was the 25 minute queue for the toilets but it gave me an opportunity to talk to some very nice ladies from Wales.  So all in all it was a real privilege to be chosen to attend and something I shall never forget.