‘Magical’ island impresses couple
Wednesday 1st August 2012, 12:46PM BST.
THE visit of the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall to Herm is a day we will never forget.
The first sun of the summer made a timely appearance that morning as a large police presence descended upon the island. As the Diamond Jubilee tour of the Bailiwick wasn’t widely mentioned in the national press, many guests were surprised to find that their holiday was coinciding with a visit from our future king.
At around 3.30pm the royal couple arrived by helicopter in the field next to Fisherman’s Cottage. They were greeted there by island tenants John and Julia Singer and escorted to Fisherman’s Path, where their chariots awaited in the form of the hotel golf buggy and one of the Gators.
I believe the original plan was for the royal couple to be driven to the White House garden and for cordons to be in place along the path, but what happened was far more informal and relaxed. The couple walked from the Mermaid Tavern, greeting guests and staff along the way.
On arrival on the hotel lawn they were introduced to island directors and residents.
On his last visit in 2004, Prince Charles was especially taken with the small school and would have liked to have visited it again, but as school had broken up for the holidays the children came to him. Lined up on the steps of the Conservatory Restaurant and wearing costumes from their recent concert, the children sang a specially written song about Herm to the tune of Yellow Submarine, alongside teacher Mary Carey and keyboard player Rachel Wright.
Head boy Elliot Knight then presented them with the words to the song, a copy of the school calendar and a copy of Pirates and Princes, a children’s book set in Herm and written by me.
Island beekeepers Rosie Wheeler and Ben Makemson presented the couple with a jar of Herm honey.
I had a lovely chat with the royal guests. The prince wanted to know how our family had ended up here and if we planned to stay, also promising to read the book.
The Duchess was only sorry they couldn’t see more of the island and described it as ‘magical’ and ‘charming’.
The royal couple spoke to hotel guests and staff in the White House gardens and people who were watching from up on the balconies.
Heading back to the helicopter, again they greeted visitors along the way and even popped up to the small patio in front of the gift shops.
Despite a request from the Duchess for a little fly-over, so she could see more of the island, they flew straight back to Guernsey.
Hopefully, next time they will stay a little longer.
What most people have commented on is the very relaxed and informal atmosphere around the whole event.
That laid back, slowed-down approach to life is one effect that Herm has on many of its visitors, so it was nice to see the royal couple experience it for themselves.
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