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Southport u3a celebrate the coronation

  • 08 May 2023

Christine, Vice Chair of Southport u3a, talks about how they celebrated the Coronation, including a surprising visit from the royals themselves...


A man and woman wearing face masks depicting King Charles and Queen Camilla step out of a black car and wave.

 Southport u3a celebrated the Coronation with a sumptuous tea party at the 5* Grand in Southport. With a live classical music, flags, coronation poppers and a majestic quiz the occasion was a huge success but the highlight was a surprise visit from the royal couple themselves.

Southport ground to a standstill as Charles and Camilla arrived in a huge vintage 1934 Daimler Landaulette. Accompanied inside by their infantry of bodyguards they stopped to wave and chat to the crowd of onlookers, negotiated the paparazzi and to the amazement and delight of the 250 u3a party goers finally arrived to join them for tea.

Our look alike from the u3a Drama Group Charles made a marvellous and hilarious speech, commending Southport and the u3a in general, and then the burly bodyguards tasted the food, just to be on the safe side – and maybe more than absolutely necessary - and we all tucked in. Later the imperial couple had a walkabout and enjoyed an informal chat with all the u3a members, next HRH readout the answers to the majestic quiz, padding out the answers with amusing insights into the everyday life of the Royals. Camilla presented the medals and prizes to the winning table, then made an entertaining speech of her own and was presented with a bouquet of flowers.
Finally it was time for the noble pair to leave and jet back down to the capital to have their nails done and a good nights sleep for the coronation the following day. We all waved our complimentary flags, popped the coronation poppers and sang God Save the King and Land of Hope and Glory as they left. It really was a splendid occasion and one we will all remember for a long time.

Of course it wasn’t the real Charles and Camilla, just u3a members Angela and Pete hamming it up for our entertainment, but they were outstandingly excellent and very, very funny indeed.

 Behind the Scenes

Burly Bodyguards - 6’7” Dr Andy doubled up with another new member Ste Jones. With shades, boots and earpieces both stood menacingly by the doors as guest arrived, jokingly offering to frisk partygoers and looking out for the Royal arrival. Back in the 70’s when The Grand was a smart Casino Steve Jones worked first as a doorman then as a croupier so was delighted to step once again inside the building and admire the beautiful face lift.

Paparazzi – Flashing the bulbs and yellow Press Jackets were the u3a Photography Group lead by Mike and David outside and keen photographers Jim Hay, Ian Homewood and Steve Birchall in the Princess Grace Suite.

Musicians – Dr Tom Sykes, Lecturer in Music at Liverpool University entertained us with beautiful classical music accompanied by Cellist Alistair Ligertwood supported us singing Land of Hope and Glory and God Save the King.

The Car – Provided by Darren Christian of Christian Classic Cars who kindly chauffeured his favourite of his many cars ‘Kate’, a 1934 Daimler, names after his mother Kath Christian who is also joining us for afternoon tea. Apart from towing the family caravan, Kate, once built for the Duke of Connaught has appeared in Brideshead revisited and is used as Moses’ car in Peaky Blinders

The Grand – In its hey day this fine building designed as a very smart car show room with originally Disney commissioned windows in the 1920s .It became the Grand Theatre, a Casino then sadly fell in to disrepair and taken over by pigeons. Now sensitively and expensively refurbished it was the only location to celebrate this big event. And they have done us proud the room and service were second to none. We hope to have many more events there in the future – if they'll let us back.

Southport u3a Events Team – It didn't all happen by chance. Making arrangements, selling tickets, seating plans, arranging the flowers, blowing up balloons, creating quizzes and lots of nonsense was a team of u3a members. The team is Lisa, Diane, Denise, Alison, Karen and Christine. 

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