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21st April 2016

Long May She Reign Over Us!

Today on the occasion of Her Majesty the Queen’s 90th birthday the team here at the Oldnautibits HQ would like to add their congratulations on this momentous day. She has been throughout her reign a role model and an inspiration for all her subjects to follow. It seems therefore appropriate today to recount one small personal anecdote. I had the honour of meeting with Queen Elizabeth II at a reception in Buckingham Palace back in the summer of 2003. In addition to waiting in line to shake Her Majesty’s hand I had the added pleasure of a once in a lifetime chance to meet with her as she mingled with the invited guests at the reception afterwards. She proved to be exactly as you hear reported in the press and on TV. She is easy to have a conversation with, is friendly and puts you completely at your ease. Never thinking I would have the chance of a one to one conversation I had to come up with something to talk about or the opportunity would be lost! On the spur of the moment I remembered a vague story about when the Gulf War veteran US Army General Schwarzkopf was given a tour of Her Majesty’s Royal Yacht Britannia. After visiting the gleaming engine room he thought he’d seen a museum piece, for display purposes only and when his tour was completed he asked the Queen where the real engine room was – or so I had read. The Queen, with HRH Price Phillip beside her, immediately responded to my questioning with a broad smile and with a twinkle in her eye confirmed the story, exactly as I had heard! The Royal Yacht was decommissioned as a result of a decision taken by the Blair Government in 1997 and it was clear at the time this had a significant emotional impact on the Queen who had much love for and many happy memories of her fine ship. I concluded a varied conversation with the Royal party by quipping if she did not watch out the Government of the day would be having the Royal train off her next. She replied succinctly with words along the lines of ‘not without a significant fight’! The memories of that day back in 2003 remain as fresh now as they were then and will last me a lifetime. So perhaps you would like to join us in raising a glass for a toast to wish Her Majesty ‘Many Happy Returns’ on this very special day and in the hope she continues “long reign over us and God save the Queen”!

Geoff Pringle
21st April 2016

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