During the magical time of growing up with Sally and the time she and I spent nearly running wild in Tobago, there was a major excitement. The arrival of Britannia during a stately tour of the West Indies. Which threw the Grown Ups into a fever.
Sally and I had no idea what Britannia was. What it represented. Who it carried. But we felt we should be included in the talks of lunches, cocktail parties and a whole brouhaha of festivities.
We were told, quite firmly, that this An Important Visit that did not include Little Girls. Which, to be honest, we found rather strange. But, oh THE BUT..apparently, if we were good (!) we’d be taken down to the harbour to see the people arrive (Mummy said it was The Queen: I said she lived in London with Granny and,therefore, IF the Queen came, Granny would there too – to which there was no answer).
The downside to greeting these “people” was that Sally and I would have to wear frocks. Not a dress. A FROCK. There was no word that carried such terror. But frocks we did wear, with much pulling at hems, hotching of waistbands and whining at the discomfort of being properly dressed.
The arrival of the “people” was a huge disappointment because they landed at the pier in a rather small vessel. Sally and I wondered how they’d travelled all the way from London in something so tiny (yes: it was the launch!).
We had practised our curtseys in a rather half-hearted way but bobbed like performing seals, receiving smiles. And that was. Except it wasn’t. I don’t suppose for a moment The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh noticed The Two Blondes popping up practically on every corner, waving flags, . No longer in the dreaded frocks, but in shorts. Skipping and dancing with delight, alongside everybody else lining the roads.
And then lunch on a beach…well, I had a mishap involving a hurricane-fallen-over coconut tree, barnacles and sliding into the sea, lacerating my legs.
My legs were looked after by the Queen’s doctors. I have Royal thighs. Not many have seen the scars.