It was a case of putting faces to names for The Duchess of Cornwall today as she and Prince Charles visited the Sandringham Flower Show.
The show appeared to be the perfect opportunity for Camilla to meet some of the people she has become penpals with and that is exactly what she did. Mary French, who is one of the pals in question, was even asked by the Duchess to hold up a sign with her name on it just so Camilla would know she was there.
Mary commented on the meeting, “I have been writing to her for well over fifteen years. She is one of my favourite Royals. I tell her about my Grandchildren and I ask about hers. She’s thrilled to bits to be a grandmother.”
There was also an international feel to the people that the Duchess was meeting today: Sharon Paroli emigrated to Nottinghamshire from Australia and she is still in correspondence with the Royal. She said, “I just really liked her so I wrote to her. I wrote thinking I would never get a reply but she kept replying with handwritten notes. We talk about our grandchildren and she asked about my move from Australia.”
This year saw the Sandringham Flower Show celebrate its 133rd anniversary and what with its marching bands, fairground and over 200 trade stands, it looked set to be a spectacular show. What’s more is that profits from the show are donated to local charities and since 1977 the show has raised more than £500,000 for charitable causes.
It wasn’t just the Royal couple who were visiting the Flower Show today, as arriving in the horse drawn carriage with Charles and Camilla were actresses Dame Judi Dench and Dame Maggie Smith, who recently became a Member of the Order of the Companions of Honour. The two ladies also accompanied the Royal couple to a concert at St Mary’s Church in Old Hunstanton, to support charity Music in Country Churches of which Prince Charles is Patron.
So it appears that it was a great day all around, for penpals and others alike. Phil Smith recalled, “I wrote to her when she got married and she wrote back. She sent me a 50th birthday card too.” It wasn’t just the penpals who got to speak with Camilla either: Holly Ford of Ingoldisthorpe Primary School spent weeks practising her curtsey and got the chance to use it for Camilla today, Holly commented, ” She said I had a lovely dress on.”
The Duchess of Cornwall even found time, along with Prince Charles, to pop in to the Sandringham Women’s Institute marquee where she bought a knitted toy, which was reportedly for Prince George.
So as the Sandringham Flower Show draws to a close it surely must be fantastic for the penpals of Camilla to know that when they write to her , they are sure to get a reply. Maybe we should all give it a go, you never know, you might be lucky enough to receive a handwritten reply from the Duchess too.
Photo Credit:(c) Chloe Howard