The Queen’s Birthday Parade, Trooping the Colour

June 18, 2012 at 4:55 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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This weekend saw another royal occasion as the Queen and Royal Family enjoyed the annual Trooping the Colour Parade to celebrate the Queen’s official birthday in London.

I watched the ceremony on the television at home on Saturday morning and was thoroughly impressed. How lovely to see Prince William join his father, the Prince of Wales, and the Duke of Kent in the Parade. And Prince Phillip back at the Queen’s side and in good health after a spell in hospital during the Diamond Jubilee weekend.

Here are my favourite pictures from the Trooping the Colour Parade 2012- enjoy!

Trooping the Colour Parade

Trooping the Colour Parade 2012

The Queen and Prince Phillip tropping the colour

The Queen and Prince Phillip at Tropping the Colour Parade

The Queen in carriage Trooping the colours

The Queen in carriage Trooping the colours

Duke of Cambridge and Prince Charles

Duke of Cambridge and Prince of Wales in Trooping the Colour Parade

Guardsmen assemble at Trooping the colour parade

Guardsmen assemble at Trooping the Colour Parade

Prince Harry, Camilla and Kate

Prince Harry, the Duchess of Cornwall and Duchess of Cambridge

Princes William, Charles and Duke of Kent

Princes William, Charles and Duke of Kent in the Parade

Royal Family Balcony 2012

The Royal Family on Buckingham Palace Balcony

Red Arrows Trooping the colour fly

Red Arrows Trooping the Colour flypast

The Diamond Jubilee Weekend- Highlights

June 6, 2012 at 2:50 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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The Diamond Jubilee weekend was packed with royal events each one lavish and wonderfully presented, which makes picking a favourite moment from the weekend extremely difficult. However, the River Pageant was remarkable and I thought that Prince Charles’ speech, which concluded the Diamond Jubilee Concert, added a rare personal touch that summed up the nations feeling of gratitude towards the Queen and Prince Phillip, who was sadly taken ill during the weekend.

Prince Charles Speech Diamond Jubilee

Prince Charles Diamond Jubilee Speech

Annette’s Diamond Jubilee Highlights

The Queen was in high spirits at the Epsom Derby on Saturday which kick started the Diamond Jubilee weekend. A horseracing fanatic, the Queen undoubtedly had a wonderful time, which set the mood for the entire weekend.

Epsom Derby Dimaond Jubilee 2012

The Epsom Derby

One of the biggest displays of the weekend was the Thames River Pageant. Although the weather was miserable the flotilla was wonderful. Seeing the Royal Family sail aboard the royal barge, Sprit of Chartwell, waving at passing boats and vessels was fantastic for all involved. I personally loved the salute from Warhorse outside the National Theatre, which the Queen also enjoyed greatly.

diamond jubilee thames river pageant

Thames River Pageant

Royal Barge Diamond Jubilee

Royal Family on the Royal Barge

Packed with iconic musical artists the Diamond Jubilee Concert was amazing. I enjoyed performances from Sir Elton John and Stevie Wonder and have to commend Rolf Harris on his wonderful and impromptu performance of Two Little Boys Alone, which got the Royal Box singing.

Diamond Jubilee Concert

Diamond Jubilee Concert

Young royals at diamond jubilee concert

Young royals enjoing the Diamond Jubilee Concert

The enormous audience on The Mall, who sang the national anthem at the spur of the moment and chanted for Prince Phillip during the Diamond Jubilee Concert, showcased just how well spirited and supportive the public are towards the Queen and Royal Family.

The Mall during Diamond Jubilee Concert

The Mall

I thought the carriage procession was a lovely way to end the Diamond Jubilee and although it was a shame that the Duke of Edinburgh wasn’t present it was nice to see the Queen and the rest of the Royal Family make their way to Buckingham Palace in such traditional style.

carriage procession dimaond jubilee

The Queen in the Dimaond Jubilee carriage procession

The fly past by the Red Arrows added the finishing touch to a truly British occasion and brought a definite smile to the Queen’s face, which was a delight.

Red Arrows Diamond Jubilee

Red Arrows

Diamond Jubilee - Carriage Procession And Balcony Appearance

Diamond Jubilee Balcony Appearance

This weekend was packed with beautiful clothing from all royals including the Queen who opted for garments with a regal sparkle during most of the Diamond Jubilee weekend.

Jubilee Fashion

Jubilee Royal Fashion

Yesterday evening the Queen presented a broadcast of thanks to the nation and Commonwealth after her spectacular Diamond Jubilee weekend. The unexpected message of appreciation nicely rounded off the Diamond Jubilee and gave the feeling that Queen has enjoyed the festivities very much indeed.

The Diamond Jubilee Royal Carriage Procession – Tuesday 5th June 2012

June 5, 2012 at 9:00 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee weekend is coming to an end and to complete a wonderful royal occasion the Queen and other members of the Royal Family will attend a service of Thanksgiving at St. Paul’s Cathedral followed by a carriage procession to Buckingham Palace today.

I’ve always felt that carriage processions are the icing on top of any royal occasion. When Prince William and new wife Kate made their way from Westminster Abbey after the Royal Wedding in 2011, their carriage procession was the perfect opportunity to showcase the new royal couple and it was fantastic to watch.   

State Landau Carriage

The State Landau Carriage which will be used today

Today the Queen and Prince Phillip will travel in the same carriage used by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on their wedding day, the State Landau Carriage which dates back to 1902 and is steeped in royal history. Following the Queen and Prince Phillip will be members of The Household Cavalry riding on horseback. The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall will follow in another royal carriage with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry behind. The Royal Family will be joined by over 10000 military personnel who will line the route.

Once the procession reaches Buckingham Palace the Queen and her family will make a balcony appearance, which I’m sure will delight the thousands of spectators who are expected on The Mall. After a short period on the balcony of Buckingham Palace the Red Arrows will perform an honouree fly past for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.


A traditional Royal Carriage Procession

The flypast will draw the Diamond Jubilee weekend to a close, and what a spectacular royal occasion it has been. I’ve had the most wonderful time celebrating 60 years of the Queen and I’m sure that she is thrilled with the response to her Diamond Jubilee. Now the nation has the Olympics to look forward too. What a brilliant British summer!

Download the order of service from the ceremony at St. Paul’s Cathedral here –Jubilee Order of Service.

The Diamond Jubilee Celebrations so far… River Pageant, Street Parities and Diamond Jubilee Concert

June 4, 2012 at 9:00 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee weekend is in full swing and I hope that everyone is enjoying the royal celebrations as much me. I’ve indulged in Diamond Jubilee biscuits and a drop of celebratory champagne in honour of Her Majesty.

Like expected yesterday’s Diamond Jubilee River Pageant, which saw over 1000 boats, vessels and barges travel down the River Thames, was absolutely spectacular. Having not seen a flotilla on such a large scale before, I was blown away by the grandness of the occasion. Its goes without saying that the River Pageant will be a moment in modern Royal history that will be remembered for a long time.

Although official Diamond Jubilee events are taking place in London (it was fantastic to see so many Union Jacks flying at the Pageant) it appears that Diamond Jubilee fever is successfully spreading across the entire country. I’ve already seen a handful of street and garden parties, beautifully decorated with patriotic bunting, which is great to see in the local community.

Diamond Jubilee Street Party

Lucky for us there are more jubilee celebrations on the way today as Buckingham Palace is hosting the Diamond Jubilee Concert, which will see performances from Sir Paul McCartney, Tom Jones, Kylie Minogue, Ed Sheeran and Cliff Richard plus many more. I’ll be watching coverage from the Diamond Jubilee Concert on BBC One from 7.30pm.  I’d recommend tuning in as the concert is promised to be a fantastic show, who knows what surprises organiser, Gary Barlow has tucked up his sleeve.

Diamond Jubilee- Iconic images of The Queen during her reign

June 1, 2012 at 1:33 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Photographs have successfully caught each moment of the Queen’s reign from her coronation in 1952, the hundreds of overseas tours which she has carried out around the world and royal occasions here in Britain and in the Commonwealth nations.

In honour of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee I’ve chosen a selection of photographs which I think capture some of the Queen’s greatest moments. See her travelling, making the first ever televised Christmas speech and spending time with her family and beloved corgis.

The Queen Coronation

The Queen coronation 1952

The Queen first christmas speec

The first televised Christmas Speech in 1957

The Queen on the Royal Yacht Briatnnia

The Queen on the Royal Yacht Britannia

1975-mexico_the queen

The Queen on an oversea tour in Mexico 1975

Silver Jubilee 1977

The Queen’s Silver Jubilee in 1977

the queen with her beloved corgies

The Queen with her beloved Corgis

The Queen Oversea TOurs

Another oversea tour for The Queen

The Queen horse riding

The Queen has enjoyed horse riding since childhood

military inspection

The Queen carrying out a military inspection with Prince William

royal wedding

The Royal Wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge

Royal visit to Leicester

During 2012’s Diamond Jubilee Tour of the UK with the Duchess of Cambridge

Food of the Queen- My six dishes of the Queen’s reign

May 30, 2012 at 4:30 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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This weekend’s Diamond Jubilee will be largely celebrated with food and drink which got me thinking about the dishes that remind me of the Queen and her 60 year reign. I’ve come up with six dishes –one for each decade; that remind me of great times celebrating royal occasions of the past.

Coronation Chicken is undoubtedly a dish for a royal occasion. Created for the Queen’s coronation by Rosemary Hume in 1952, the fruity chicken dish has stood the test of time as it’s still a popular choice today, making it the perfect sandwich filler for a Diamond Jubilee street party lunch.

I’d suggest following The Hairy Bikers Coronation Chicken recipes as it’s full of flavour with fresh mango, lemon and apricot jam.

Coronation chicken

Coronation Chicken

Years ago a royal celebration wouldn’t seem complete without a bowl of trifle. Traditional trifles would have a good slug of sherry and a sponge bottom with layers of fresh berries and plenty of custard and cream on top. Served in a deep glass dish, an old fashioned trifle would be the centre of any table display and a desert which I’d really looked forward too.

For a Diamond Jubilee edition why not serve trifle in individual pots and add red, white and blue sprinkles on top as featured in BBC Food’s recipe.


Jubilee Trifle

Even if you don’t follow the Royal Family throughout the year chances are that you’ll watch the Queen’s Speech on Christmas Day, which brings me to the traditional Roast Dinner.

Served weekly in a majority of households, roast dinners are a national treasure. It’s a meal which is enjoyed by all, and although the finer details of the meal may change from family to family the basics are always the same; a quality cut of British meat, fresh vegetables, fluffy potatoes and a generous serving of gravy.

If you enjoy a lamb roast read James Martin’s roast recipe with the trimmings.

roast dinner

Traditional Roast Dinner

Cream tea is wonderfully British and instantly reminds me of summer garden parties much like the one I attended a Buckingham Palace, which served a traditional cream tea of scones, clotted cream and jam with a cup of tea and finger sandwiches.

Homemade scones are easy to make and taste delicious. Try Delia Smith’s recipe for fruity jubilee scones.

cream tyea

Jubilee Cream Tea

During her reign the Queen has travelled across the globe and has tasted the world’s most delicious cuisine. During those 60 years foreign food has become incredibly popular amongst British families, many families now enjoy a variety of international curry dishes.

With the help of chefs like, Jamie Oliver and Anjum Anand, people are making authentic curries in their own homes. So why not spice up your Diamond Jubilee celebrations with a curry pot, Jamie Oliver’s Chicken Tikka Masala is mild enough for everyone to enjoy.


Spice up the Jubilee with a curry dish

Named after Queen Victoria, the only other monarch to have a Diamond Jubilee, Victoria Sponge is a traditional British cake which is easy to make and a favourite amongst The Women’s Institute.

I always enjoy a freshly baked slice of Victoria Sponge and I can’t think of a more appropriate occasion to indulge. Neither can I think of a better recipe to follow than Mary Berry’s ‘perfect’ Victoria sandwich. Enjoy!

victoria sponge

Victoria Sponge

Royal Mail reveals The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Stamp Collection

May 24, 2012 at 4:40 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Jubilee Merchandise

With so much Diamond Jubilee merchandise on the market deciding what to buy is a tricky decision. Most people want to make a purchase but don’t want to spend too much money, and importantly, they want their jubilee purchase to be practical. There seems little point in buying something that you’ll only use over the jubilee bank holiday weekend.  

Today Royal Mail has revealed an exclusive collection of Diamond Jubilee stamps to commemorate the Queen’s 60 years on the throne. The eight stamp collection captures significant moments of the Queens reign. Ranging from her early days as monarch to more recent events like the Queen’s Golden Jubilee in 2002 and an inspection of 2nd Battalion Royal Welsh in 2007.

jubilee stamp collection

Although the collection of postal portraits is small (I don’t know how Royal Mail managed to pick only 8 images) it’s nice to see that they’ve have used photographs which we don’t often see of the Queen. Her broadcasting the first ever televised Christmas speech in 1957 for example, and attending the Commonwealth Games in 1982, an event which is incredibly important to the Queen.

I think that the Diamond Jubilee stamp collection will be an incredibly popular choice amongst the general public as not only is it a great way to commemorate the Queen’s 60 year reign, the stamps are affordable and a lovely addition to any letter you’ll be posting over the next couple of weeks.

The Diamond Jubilee stamp collection goes on sale from Thursday 31st May 2012 in Post Offices.

Chelsea Flower Show 2012

May 22, 2012 at 1:32 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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After weeks of dreadful weather the sunshine has finally made an appearance right in time for this week’s Chelsea Flower Show which opens to the public today.

Yesterday celebrities, show judges and Her Majesty the Queen were invited to Chelsea Flower Show’s Press Day where the show gardens were judged and guests were able to take an exclusive tour around the show.

The Queen at Chelsea Flower Show 2012

The Queen at Chelsea Flower Show 2012

I was lucky enough to visit the Chelsea Flower Show many years ago and have followed the annual event for years because I admire the creativity of the gardens that are often designed with specific occasions in mind. Many of this year’s gardeners have taken into account this summer’s Diamond Jubilee and the Olympic Games but they were also required to work around the recent drought and hose pipe ban.

One gardener who concentrated primarily on environmental elements was Diarmuid Gavin who has created the highest ever garden featured at the show. The striking garden scales 80ft and is designed in a pyramid frame with seven stories. Adding a touch of Royal Britannia for Press Day, Diarmuid invented 75 Chelsea Pensioners to line the pyramid garden, where they could admire the magnificent views from the high rise garden.

Diarmuid Gavin Chelsea pensioners

Diarmuid Gavin garden with Chelsea Pensioners

Although I like Diarmuid’s boldness I have to say that his garden isn’t particularly visually pleasing for me. Instead I like the garden which have a more relaxed and rustic feel. The L’Occitaine Garden and Chris Beardshaw’s ‘Furzey Gardens’ are favourites of mine because they are both understated but beautiful. In contrast I also like the Thai exhibit which is vibrant, energetic and full of life.

The Royal Horticultural Society, who hosts Chelsea Flower Show, has also focused on practical gardens in 2012’s show. They’ve included a rehabilitation garden that has been used to help wounded and ex-service men and women get back into the garden. The rehabilitation garden is fantastic to see as I believe that getting outdoors is a fantastic opportunity for people to enjoy life once again.

Amanda Holden in L'Occitaine Garden

Amanda Holden in L’Occitaine Garden

The RHS have also called on celebrities fans of the Chelsea Flower Show such as Dame Judi Dench, Joan Collins and Fearne Cotton to decorated plant pots which will be auctioned for charity. All proceeds will be ploughed back into The RHS who work with children to help them benefit from the pleasures of gardening.

There is a lot going on at this week’s show so I’d recommend reading The Telegraph’s live coverage or visiting the Chelsea Flower Show website for updates on awards, featured gardens etc. I’d love to hear from you if you’re visiting the show so please feel free to leave a comment below.

The Queen’s Speech- draft social care bill announced

May 9, 2012 at 4:19 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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The Queen addressed both Houses of Parliament this morning when she delivered the annual Queen’s Speech to open parliament. In one of the most lavish occasions in Parliament’s calendar, the Queen outlined the government’s legislation for the year ahead.

The speech revealed nineteen bills including a Children and Families Bill, a Crime and Courts Bill and the Groceries Code Adjudicator Bill that safeguards suppliers against powerful supermarket chains.

The Queens Speech 2012

However many are disappointed to hear that a full bill on social care was not outlined. Instead a draft bill was announced during the Queen’s Speech much to the disapproval of people who are carers or supporters of elderly charities such as Age UK, who have campaigned for reform in social care’s law and funding.

The sheer volume of support for campaigns such as Age UK’s Care in Crisis– a campaign that has seen thousands sign petitions, write to parliament and even campaign at Westminster- displays how in demand change to the current care system is making today’s announcement deeply disappointing.

However, Age UK has released a statement which looks positively at the draft bill. As the leading charity for older people in the UK they plan to work with the government to make legislation possible next year and urge campaigners to continue backing social care reforms for as long as needs be.

Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Face Britain art installation projected onto Buckingham Palace

April 20, 2012 at 10:50 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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As a grandparent there is nothing sweeter than receiving a drawing or sketch from a grandchild. I’ve got several of my grandchildren’s portraits in the office and always get a great sense of joy from seeing them each morning.

So when I saw that Buckingham Palace is being lit up with portraits of the Queen, created by montages of over 200,000 self-portraits drawn by school children across Britain, I was delighted.

Face Britain

Face Britain Poject- Buckingham Palace

The ‘Face Britain’ campaign was created by Prince Charles’ Foundation for Children and the Arts and challenged children aged 4-16 to create their own self-portraits. Together the portraits have assembled a vibrant and charming art installing of The Queen for her Diamond Jubilee.

The art work is currently being projected onto the front of Buckingham Palace each evening until Saturday and could potentially set a Guinness World Record for the most artists to work on the same art installation.

Face Britain Project Buckingham Palace

Montages were made with self-portraits from school children

A fantastic addition to The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations and rumour has it that The Queen really likes the installation.

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