HM Queen Elizabeth II: Our Members Remember

We asked WI members in Cornwall to share with us any memories they have of HM Queen Elizabeth II, and the response has been overwhelming! Here is the first in our series:

My memory is of Her Majesty’s visit to the Royal Cornwall Show. I was stewarding the WI competitions and had to take my daughter Elizabeth who was at home having been ill but now recovered but not able to go back to school.

Just as HM arrived, another WI member who was carrying a basket of flowers thrust them into Elizabeth’s hands and said she could give them to the Queen!

I was horrified. Both my late husband and I had served in the Royal Navy so I was very conscious of security and protocol and said no, that was not acceptable. I didn’t know the WI member personally so didn’t know if the flowers had been in the marquee during the security sweep. Those around me said, “Do let her!” and my daughter’s little face was so confused so I told her to ask ‘the man with the sword’, the Lord Lieutenant, if she could give the flowers to the Queen. The dear man passed Elizabeth over the the Lady in Waiting who shepherded her towards the Queen. I was mortified, and poor Rosemary Slee, our Federation Chairman had no idea that was happening but she smiled and carried on.

All I could think of was, “We didn’t wash her hair this morning!” I was, however, delighted that she bobbed a curtsy as she handed over the basket. I was so shocked at what was happening I forgot to take a photograph and when I remembered and lifted my camera, one of the committee members waiting in line to be introduced stepped right in front of me so I had a picture of a bit of my daughter’s dress on one side, Rosemary’s on the other and the whole back of that lady! Everything happened so fast.

When Elizabeth came back to us, everyone wanted to know what the Queen had said. She said that HM thanked her then gave the basket to the Lady in Waiting and asked her to put them in the car to go home!

It was some weeks later that this photograph arrived, it had been sent to someone else as since it was not on the programme and no one knew who my daughter was. A most unexpected and wonderful occasion.

–  Ellen Seward, South Hill WI

Posted in Uncategorized.


  1. When I was a child my family along with our dog, were picnicking in Windsor Great Park. A woman in a tweed skirt, wellies and a headscarf approached us. She fussed the dog and chatted to my brothers and I then walked on. After she had gone, my father asked, “do you know who that was?” We had no idea. “That,” he said, “was the queen.” I have no recollection of what she said to us, just her appearance and as everyone seems to remember, her smile.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *