MIDLANDS’ RESIDENTS REMEMBER THE QUEEN
Residents in the Midlands have been sharing their memories of Queen Elizabeth II, who died peacefully at Balmoral on Thursday last week.
The queen came to the throne in 1952, following the death of her father King George VI, and in her 96 years witnessed enormous political, economic and social change.
Her son, King Charles III, said her loss would be deeply felt around the world.
"We mourn profoundly the passing of a cherished sovereign and a much-loved mother,” he added. "I know her loss will be deeply felt throughout the country, the realms and the Commonwealth, and by countless people around the world."
For many living in KwaZulu-Natal, the queen’s death sparked memories of her visit to South Africa in 1947. The then Princess Elizabeth travelled with her parents, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth and her sister, Princess Margaret, around the province as part of a royal tour to Southern Africa.
Glenda Fowle, who lives at Amberglen, said that during the Royal family’s trip by train through the Free State, they stopped at Arlington, a tiny railway junction in the middle of the province.
“We were in the front row and my mom panicked a bit and impulsively asked the Princess to wait a moment, which she very graciously did, and the snapshot (pictured
The then Princess Elizabeth and the Royal family pictured in Arlington in the Free State, during their tour of South Africa in 1947. above right) is the result! This was using an old Brownie box camera. I was 10, and all dressed up in a new dress!,” she added.
Margie Spencer, who admits to being a big fan of the monarchy, revealed that Mooi River residents, Joyce and Walter Tatham rode to Lions River station to see the Royal party.
“Joyce, who was my aunt, schooled her horses to be some of the best in this country,” Spencer added. “In fact she would have been known as a horse whisperer today.
“Because of her riding ability, she and Walter - whose two sons, Pat and Gerard, live in the Midlands rode to the station. The princesses got to ride the horses and when the Royal family got back to Buckingham Palace, Joyce received a lovely letter thanking her for providing such beautifully behaved horses which they enjoyed riding. Princess Elizabeth also told her she wasn't allowed to school her own horses."
Stella Gardiner, from Howick, recalls travelling from Klerksdorp to Mafikeng on dirt roads to see the Royal family when they visited the area.
"It was all very exciting," she said. "A neighbour collected us and we drove there in his big, grey Dodge car - four children and three adults all squashed together. I remember we waved flags when we saw the king, queen and the princesses."
Rodney Fann, a resident at Amberglen, remembers the late Queen Elizabeth II, for something very different: pigeons.
“The Queen has a racing pigeon loft at Sandringham and used to send five or six pigeons out to South Africa each year to participate in our million dollar race,” he added.
Another unusual memory was shared by Mary Perry, from Howick, who worked as a guidance teacher at Durban Girls' High School in the 1990s.
“One of my tasks was to organise a week 's work experience for all the Grade 11 pupils. On their return to school they had to prepare a report of what they had done, and also tell the class about it.
“One of the pupils had had a week's work experience at the Royal Hotel in Durban and told us that, while spending one day in the hotel's laundry, one of the elderly workers told her that the proudest moment of his life had been when he had been trusted to wash and iron one of Queen Elizabeth's dresses when she had stayed at the hotel. She had personally come down and thanked him.”
The state funeral for the Queen will take place at Westminster Abbey on Monday, September 19. Prior to the funeral, her coffin will lie in state in the historic Westminster Hall to allow the public to pay their respects.
The Royal Agricultural Society (RAS) is mourning the loss of Queen Elizabeth II, whose love for the countryside and agriculture was well-known.
“The queen was a person who loved rural life,” chief executive officer, Terry Strachan, said. “She loved the countryside, she loved agriculture.”
The RAS was given its royal status in 1904 by the queen’s grandfather, King Edward VII, who visited the Showgrounds while in South Africa on a tour.
“That royal status has been cherished for 100 years of the 170 years the Royal Show has been in existence,” Strachan said.
“The society has been very closely aligned to the royal family over a number of years. Edward VII visited the show, as did Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, when he was
“We were both born before
World War II, so for the first few years, particularly during the war, it was her father, King George VI, who we heard about in the news,” said Jean.
“But we were still teenagers when he died, and Elizabeth became Queen. We were able to watch the coronation in 1953 on the newly popular TV.
“Television only reached the north of England in 1951, so my father bought a new TV (black and white of course) in time for the Coronation, whilst Ted’s family visited a family along the road who had TV.”
In 1961, the couple had an interesting encounter with the Royal family.
“We were on holiday, motoring around Scotland, and travelling on a Scottish moorland road – single lane with passing places - across the moors near Balmoral,” said Ted.
“We could see the road well
president of the Royal Agricultural Society of the Commonwealth,” he added.
After the duke’s death, his daughter, Princess Anne, the Princess
Royal, took over as president of the organisation which plays a pivotal role in the promotion of agriculture across the Commonwealth.
Strachan said: “We were deeply saddened at the news of the queen’s death, despite her age. Just a few days ago we saw her welcoming the new Prime Minister, Liz Truss, and saying goodbye to Boris Johnson. We thought we would still have her for a few more years.”
He added that the whole RAS team wished King Charles III all the very best in all his future endeavours.
For the next 10 days the RAS will be displaying a photo of Queen Elizabeth II in their reception area.