Camilla creates a little moment of history – and cheers galore – on her Marlborough royal visit
A moment to add to Marlborough’s history – and a chance for schoolchildren to wave their flags and cheer Camilla – lifted the grey cloud gloom over the town for today’s royal visit by the Duchess of Cornwall.
Prompt at 11am her black limousine arrived at the steps of Marlborough town hall for the significant event in her visit, the unveiling of a brilliantly hand-painted mosaic mural to mark the Queen’s diamond jubilee year.
She was greeted by Wiltshire’s Lord Lieutenant, Mrs Sara Rose Troughton, and a fanfare from the cornets of St John’s Academy students Stephanie Browning and Harry Austen, and the two youngest mace bearers in the country, Luke Callaghan and Josh Daniel, both from St John’s too.
There was a posy presentation as well, by 10-year-old St Peter’s Junior School pupil Josephine Vergera, before the Duchess went off to visit the historic cells beneath the town hall, followed by reception in the Court Room packed with representatives of local organisations.
And an hour later Marlborough’s Mayor, Edwina Fogg, declared: “It’s the highlight of my year so far in that it’s the culmination of many wonderful diamond jubilee celebrations we held here in the town.”
“But those events have passed whereas we now have a permanent memorial Camilla unveiled today that is now a little part of Marlborough’s history for everyone to see.”
“It’s been a tremendous day, a wonderful day for Marlborough, something we shall remember.”
That was true to for students from St John’s, St Peter’s and St Mary’s schools, who lined the pavement along with residents to wave their Union Jacks and cheer, the more so when the Duchess went over to greet and talk to them as she left.
“That’s made my day, my week,” said one of the bystanders. “I’m not much of a royalist, but Camilla shook hands with the children, chatted with them and behaved so beautifully.”
Weeks of weeks of behind the scene communications by Edwina and her husband, Nick, twice mayor of Marlborough, took place before the royal event was confirmed.
But you wouldn’t have thought so as all involved prepared for the arrival of the Duchess, who toured the photographic display of some 30 pictures of the Diamond Jubilee events held in June, greeting and talking to the guests as she went round the room.
She saw too a display of press clippings about the Swiftsure canoe from Marlborough, New Zealand, that took part in the diamond jubilee pageant on the Thames, meeting up with New Zealander Debbie Peploe and telling her of the forthcoming trip to New Zealand that Camilla and Prince Charles are to make.
And she spent significant time talking to Jenny McShane, Helen Whitield and Kirsty Robinson, the three artists from Marlborough Tiles, who created the mosaic she later unveiled, together with Jamie Robb, the managing director whose company has donated it to Marlborough.
“It’s all a blur now, I can’t remember what Camilla said,” Jenny told Marlborough News Online. “It is been a fantastic day.”
Jamie recalled: “She said she was going to come by and look in at our tile shop the next time she is in Marlborough. Let’s hope she does that. A royal commission? You never know.”
What impressed the mayor and many others was the ease with which the Duchess, who was wearing a smart cream and brown suit, took any tension out of meeting and talking to so many people in such a short time, particular young people.
And that included the one big surprise of the royal visit for many of those present – the Duchess’s own daughter, Laura Lopez, who lives in Ogbourne St Andrew, was there, together with her two-year-old twin sons, Louis and Gus.
“None of us knew that,” said Edwina.
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