The Queen visits Wells
8.16pm. A lovely day, much better than was forecast. I got up at 4.40am, worked on the 1947 Diary, took Freda a cup of tea as usual; we had breakfast early, drove to Wells, parked at Mary’s and made our way to the Market Place, through almost deserted streets. When we arrived outside the Town Hall at 7.30am we were the first spectators there, but the Town Clerk (who talked to us for a few minutes) and Mayor and officials, and a large Carnival float had arrived earlier. “You can’t bring that in here, the Queen is coming,” someone had told the driver, so the Town Clerk told us. We went for a walk to the Cathedral Green —which would soon be closed to the public for the Queen to hear singing outside the West door by the Cathedral choir and to see dancing by hundreds of schoolchildren on the Green.
Eventually we took our places on the corner with people gathering behind and to each side of us. The Queen and Prince Philip, after spending the night in the Royal Train (at Norton Fitzwarren perhaps}, fulfilled their engagements in Taunton before flying by helicopter to Wells, then transferred to the Daimler limousine. It pulled up a few feet from us, and the Queen stepped out, slowly and very carefully, directly facing us, so that we could see right through. No one except the assembled officials had a closer view of the Queen. An hour later she walked so close to us that we could have shaken hands.
Suddenly [getting into the car, her back to us], she [turned &] looked me straight in the eye, and as though to say, “Nice to see you again,” gave me a little nod, which I reciprocated. It was a strange, mystical experience. The Queen left for Bath, and we headed for the Good Earth café, where we had a delicious lunch of quiche and salad, followed by trifle. We sat with Mrs Dix (URC).
FRIDAY 30th AUGUST
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