The Christmas Day service at Sandringham attracts thousands of people hoping to catch a glimpse of The Royal Family. One ardent Royal watcher who has been in attendance at nearly every Christmas Day gathering since 1988 is Mary Relph. Unfortunately for Mary, Christmas 2014 saw her recovering from a major operation and consequently couldn’t make the annual Norfolk event, an absence that didn’t go unnoticed in Royal circles and when The Duchess of Cornwall found out, she just had to send her the best of wishes.
The Duchess of Cornwall sent Mary Relph a bouquet of flowers with an attached card that read, ‘Dear Mary, these come with many healing thoughts for a speedy recovery. All my best wishes, Camilla’. Mrs Relph, who collects Royal memorabilia, has said that she was astonished when the bouquet of roses, hyacinths and orchids turned up at her home. Mary continued, “It was a complete surprise, I had no idea whatsoever. She wasn’t up there at all but I’ve got an idea who told her.” The Duchess of Cornwall was also absent from the Christmas Day service, suffering from a bad back.
Mary Relph’s adoration for The Royal Family has even hit the headlines in the past. In 2001, she camped out for more than 24 hours on The Mall in order to greet Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother on her 101st birthday. Though Mary is a regular fixture at Sandringham, one massive Royal event that she did miss was the wedding of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in 2011. An illness meant she could not join the mass crowds that had gathered outside of Westminster Abbey, though once again Mrs Relph’s absence had not gone unnoticed. A few days after the big day, a box arrived containing a piece of the Royal couple’s wedding cake and a note from Camilla who stated that a ‘little bird’ had informed her that Mrs Relph had missed the big day.
The Duchess of Cornwall and Prince Charles usually have a catch up with Mrs Relph at the Sandringham Flower Show and Mary believes that Camilla has a soft spot for those who attend the annual summer extravaganza because they made her feel so welcome, “She’s wonderful, we were the first people to make her feel at home in Norfolk. She always says: Hello Mary, how are you, always.”
So as Mrs Relph continues to rejoice at another sign of affection from The Duchess of Cornwall, be sure to keep a lookout at the next big Royal event, one is sure you will spot Mary right at the front of the crowd.
Featured Photo Credit: © Chloe Howard 2014