A Royal occasion: Alby remembers Her Majesty

Former Havering Councillor Alby Tebbutt recalls the day he met the Queen when she visited Romford in 2003:

�It was probably the best day of the whole year.

It was an absolutely beautiful day.

There were thousands of people in the market, with the crowd being 30 to 40 people deep and there were parents with their children on their shoulders, so I asked police if they would allow them inside the gates to sit nicely.

They were allowed.

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Soon after, a car with two motorbikes pulled up and her impeccably dressed lady-in-waiting stepped out to check out the market.

‘What’s a boot?’

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Then two more cars with motorbike escorts pulled up.

The Queen and Philip got out and walked either side of the crowd.

Philip walked my side and he talked to people along the line.

When he got to me I held my hand out for him to shake it, but he doesn’t usually shake hands. He looked at my hand, and I said that I wouldn’t squeeze it.

He smiled and we shook hands.

The Queen then walked over and said there was a wonderful display of flowers.

I asked if she would like to pick some out that I could put in the boot for her.

She replied ‘What’s a boot?’ so then I pointed at the car and said ‘That back bit, that’s the boot.’ ‘Oh yes, I see’ she replied.

I said we have got to look after you as you are the last remaining industry we have got, and explained we rely on imports from the continent and world.

I added, ‘It’s a good job I didn’t meet you 30 years ago.’ ‘Why is that?’ she asked.

I looked at Philip and jokingly said ‘Because he wouldn’t have stood a chance.’

The Queen lowered her handbag, put her hand on her stomach and started to laugh.

I think that the Queen is the finest ambassador the country has got and she should be protected at whatever cost.

She makes England different from the world, and it sets the foundation and backbone of democracy and civilisation and we set an example to the rest of the world.

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