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AXMINSTER: Surprising tales of life at Buckingham Palace

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Speaker Deborah Bean gave a memorable talk to Axminster Phoenix Ladies Club, about her duties and fascinating trips, spanning nearly 40 years based at Buckingham Palace. Initially working for the Queen’s Private Secretary, Sir Martin Charteris and at a later date, Lord Robert Fellowes, Deborah recounted the working year of the Queen at Windsor, Holyrood Castle, Balmoral and Sandringham. As we know, the Queen receives her red Despatch Box daily, from the Government of the day with the exception of Easter Day and Christmas Day. This is in addition to the many functions undertaken throughout the year, a formidable workload which Her Majesty undertakes with good grace and humour. Deborah, accompanied the Queen’s Private Secretary and the Royal Family during the course of the year to many places, both home and abroad, and recalled the time spent on the Royal Yacht Britannia before it was sadly scrapped. The Despatch Box and other post was dropped by air into the sea for retrieval by the ship’s crew, in a buoyant waterproof jacket. Even the rough seas did not hinder daily routine and Deborah recalled intermittent seasickness, whilst taking dictation and performing her duties. Phoenix Members were invited to look at the various Christmas cards and personal letters sent to Deborah by the Queen and the many awards received during her long Service, including the CVO, conferred upon retirement together with a Silver Armada Dish. During the meeting, the Chairman presented Stella Landeryou with a special Diamond Anniversary Rose to celebrate her and husband Dave’s 60th wedding anniversary. A special celebratory cake and other goodies were consumed at the following tea. Stella recounted too that she had received the special card from Buckingham Palace, no longer a telegram as in olden days, to commemorate their happy life of bliss. Many congratulations to them both. Three new members were welcomed too and existing ones who have been absent with health problems were also welcomed back into the fold. A fun meeting on a beautiful spring day. The Phoenix Ladies Club will meet again on Wednesday, 14th May at 2.30pm when speaker Val Sutherland will be telling members what “Nice Girls Never Should Do!” Visitors are always welcome at the United Reformed Church Hall.

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