Digital Adventures

Putting the Royal into the Royal Botanic Gardens by nmerrett
May 6, 2009, 4:30 pm
Filed under: Garden Life | Tags: , , ,

The whole of Kew was awash with excitement yesterday, as we were graced with the presence of some very special visitors: Her Majesty the Queen – or “Queenie” as us DMTers have come to affectionately call her in the office – and HRH Prince Phillip.

The Queen cuts the Palm House cake

As the big day approached, the gardeners seemed to be working round the clock to get the Gardens ship shape for Her Majesty. In fact, whilst walking back from a meeting last Thursday, it was observed that it looked like they’d run not just a lawn mower over the lawns but given them a quick hoover too – such were their perfection. In addition, the Orangery has had a lick of paint, the spiders have been removed from the Banks Building atrium (big sigh of relief from my phobic self) and even the Kew Explorer, just for the special day, was given a makeover of 250th logo colour inspired flowers.

If the gardeners were concerned with the gardens, Kew Constabulary the security and the Press Dept the photography, for us ladies there was just the one big question: what shoes to wear to a royal reception in the Orangery? Surely one doesn’t want to wear skyscraper heels when meeting the diminutive monarch? Vanity took hold and the heels won out, a decision that was doubted for the ensuing 2 hours as I stood around waiting for Her Majesty to arrive.

During this time, the obvious question on everyone’s lips was “what colour was she going to wear?” Colours were thrown around like candy drops: lemon; pale green (my guess); peach; lilac… not one person correctly guessed a salmon pink ensemble with black trim – perhaps what started the impromptu round of applause as she entered the Orangery at 3.25pm? For me, I was just in awe at how beautiful our monarch looked. I like to think we exchanged a little smile, but am sure everyone else in my group felt the same – such is her magic.

The pain from the shoes paid off before too long with the excellent view they offered in viewing the Royal Couple meeting fellow colleagues (including our very own Head of DM Mike Saunders who enlightened Phillip on our website re-launch project) before unveiling a 250th plaque, being presented with the Kew Gardens rose (no thorns so safe for Queenie) and cutting the amazing Palm House cake (for those that are curious, the base was a cake but the Palm House elaborately iced polystyrene).

After a quick signing of the guest book, the Queen and Phillip said their goodbyes. Tea and cake was enjoyed by all and I then rushed back (as fast as my heels would take me) to report to the rest of the DMT and my eagerly awaiting Twitter followers, the events of the afternoon.

There does seem to be an element of comedown in the office today – and that’s not just due to all us ladies back in our flat shoes. After all, where does one go after being in the presence of royalty? Off for tea and cake if you’re a member of Kew’s DMT…

Some Flickr highlights:

The Queen, Prince Phillip and the Palm House Cake

The Queen and The Media

Dressed up for the Visit

– Nicola Merrett –

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