A ‘LUCKY’ six-year-old Lancing girl has had the pleasure of meeting Her Majesty the Queen at a ceremony held in the Tower of London.
Little Leah Patten of Freshbrook Road attended a ceremony at the historic London landmark on October 16 with her cousin Ashlynne Patten, 4, (from Caversham) to mark a refurbishment at the Chapel Royal of Saint Peter Ad Vincula.
In fact, Leah’s grandad is the chief Yeoman Warder (Beefeater) who guards the premises, conducts tours and continues the traditions that have been honoured for centuries.
Leah’s mum, Louise Patten, said that the children were not fully aware just how significant meeting the Queen was until it was all over.
“They practised their curtseys for three weeks. Most girls will curtsey with the leg in the front, but the leg had to be round the back. They also had to call her Majesty to begin with then Ma’am. They were also asked not to speak to her unless they were spoken to,” she said.
The two girls were christened at the famous chapel, so were best suited to greet the Queen upon her arrival and hand her a bouquet.
“When she turned up Leah’s face dropped, she was stunned.
“The Queen then commented on what lovely curtseys they had,” she said.
Leah, who attends Seaside Primary School, told the Lancing Gazette: “I liked standing next to Ashlynne giving flowers to the queen. It made me feel special.”
The Royal palace and fortress has been in the media recently for its installation ‘Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red’, where more than 888,000 ceramic poppies have been arranged to mark the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War.
“These represent all the soldiers that died,” said Louise.
The Queen came to see the installation and add a poppy to the display that resembles a flowing red river.
She then went to the chapel for the blessing.
Leah’s grandfather and grandmother, Alan and Pat Kingshott, are from Lancing originally, but currently live at the Tower of London.
Alan performs his duties as the chief Yeoman Warder and Pat works in The Jewel House, where the jewels are on display protected by two-inch-thick shatter-proof glass.
“The girls are both very lucky to have this opportunity,” added Louise.
The Chapel’s refurbishment has cost £600,000 and was funded by private donors.
The Queen was also given an exclusive tour of the Tudor Chapel’s upgraded undercroft, which is usually not open to the public.