The Queen and Prince Philip joined their son and daughter-in-law in Dorset yesterday, to honour The Queen Mother in Prince Charles’ creation of Poundbury town.
It’s quite a rare occasion to have four Royals at one event, but this just goes to show how special the unveiling of Queen Mother Sqaure was to Charles that he invited both his parents along.
Queen Mother Square, named after The Prince of Wales’ dear grandmother who died in 2002, sits at the centre of Poundbury, near Dorset. The town is part of the Duchy of Cornwall, and built to good planning principles and design, something which Charles is passionate about.
Shortly after arrival, Prince Charles showed his parents his vision for the town, as well as giving them a brief tour of the amenities. Construction began in 1993 and is set to be complete in 2025; about 3,000 people now live there, with the population expected to almost double.
Some have noted that Strathmore House, named after The Queen Mother’s heritage as a daughter of The Earl of Strathmore – bears a resemblance to Buckingham Palace with its palladian frontage. The building contains eight luxury apartments.
“Twenty-five years ago all this was a mere dream,” said Prince Charles in a speech to the gathered crowds, adding: ““To most people… a completely mad dream.”
The Prince admitted that he had been ‘battling against the tide’ calling it ‘an uncomfortable experience’. He then thanked the architects, planners and builders and craftsmen who had helped his vision become a reality. The crowd, who cheered his speech, certainly seemed to approve of his architectural vision.
“It is a great honour Your Majesty is able to be with us today, 18 years after you first came here, for such an important occasion in the history of Poundbury on the edge of the historic town of Dorchester.
“So it is with immense pride and in loving memory of my darling grandmother that I invite Your Majesty to unveil the statue of Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother and thus to declare open her Square,” Charles finished.
Incidentally, although almost certainly not accidentally, Her Majesty wore her palm leaf brooch for the event. This Cartier piece had belonged to The Queen Mother and had been one of her most-worn brooches.
It was then to the local Waitrose store for the foursome, with The Queen spotted browsing the store – not something she is used to!
Each Royal was presented with a hamper at the supermarket, full of goodies. Waitrose holds a Royal Warrant, meaning their products are used in the Royal Household and have been for a number of years. The brand even stocks Prince Charles’ Duchy Originals.
At The Duchess of Cornwall Inn – we believe Prince Charles insisted on the name for the local – Charles, Camilla, The Queen and Philip were treated to a pint, although they didn’t get to enjoy their beverages. The inn is modelled on the Ritz Hotel, a favourite of The Queen Mother’s.
It was Camilla’s job as Duchess of Cornwall to officially open the pub, by pulling a pint of ale, named The Duchess , created in her honour.
Prince Charles declared a toast to “The Duchesses”, and Camilla joked “God bless all who drink in her,” to the approval of the locals.
This was Her Majesty’s third visit to the town, her last being in 1998.