Each year during her stay at her Sandringham estate in Norfolk, Her Majesty The Queen visits members of her local Women’s Institute at West Newton village hall. This year’s fete, however, was markedly different as Her Majesty enjoyed tea and cakes with the WI members in a pitch-dark hall following a power cut earlier that same day.
Chairman of Sandringham WI, Yvonne Browne said that The Queen saw the funny side of the situation and was “laughing and smiling” during her visit despite the lack of heating or lighting. Though there was a moment of doubt and the event was almost cancelled, the WI was able to forge ahead with assistance from local police, who brought them urns of hot water for tea.
Browne said the day had been “very interesting” as “the power went off at 11 minutes past six and all through the morning we had information ‘it’s on in an hour, it’s on in an hour’ so I took the decision we’d go ahead regardless.
“I had calls with the house and the Queen’s private secretary said ‘yes, if you’re happy to go ahead we’re happy to go ahead’. So, Her Majesty valiantly came along to the WI this afternoon with no heating and no lighting and we were supplied with urns of water by the police to make the tea so we were actually able to provide everyone with a cup of tea.
“And of course the Queen came in and she was laughing and smiling with everybody sort of making remarks on the fact she couldn’t really see us because it’s quite dark, it’s darker in the hall than it is outside. We’ve had a really lovely afternoon despite no heat or light.”
The Queen became a member of the Sandringham branch of the Women’s Institute in 1943 when she was still a princess and has been attended each year since.