Hornchurch man meets the Queen after his company Hare and Humphreys decorates the royal rowbarge Gloriana
PUBLISHED: 16:35 07 June 2012 | UPDATED: 16:53 07 June 2012
Many of us invited friends and neighbours to share our Jubilee celebrations over the weekend – but one Hornchurch man’s tribute to the Queen was seen by millions.
Peter Hare, co-founder and managing director of leading decoration, conservation and arts firm Hare and Humphreys, was delighted when his company was asked to deck out the royal rowbarge presented as a gift to the Queen. His artist wife Jacqui was also on board with the project, spending eight weeks working on the boat.
But the icing on the cake came when Mr Hare was asked to meet the Queen Herself as she stepped onto Gloriana for the first time.
His eight-year-old daughter Olivia Filmer-Hare, who attends Oakfield Montessori School, presented the Queen with a posy as she toured the luxurious rowbarge.
“I was honoured to be present,” said Mr Hare. “The Queen is without doubt the most respected person in Britain. The opportunity to meet her and take her on board was quite something. My memories of that experience will never fade.
“It was a fantastic day. I can tell you there weren’t many people there without a moist eye.”
Mr Hare, 53, of Hubbards Chase, is no stranger to royalty. His London business has worked on Windsor Castle and Spencer House with Princess Diana.
But Gloriana stands out for him as a once-in-a-lifetime project – because the rowbarge, the first to be built in more than 300 years, was paid for by charitable trust and presented to the Queen as a gift, with the company making no profit.
“We’ve worked on some amazing things we’re all proud of,” said Mr Hare, “but not only is this a fabulous project – it was done as a legacy gift.”
Gloriana’s intricate design betrays her London heritage – her interior is awash with hand-painted birds chosen to reflect the Thames’ wildlife. “I studied the birds of Rainham Marshes and Barking and Dagenham,” said Mr Hare. “I needed to feel comfortable that London had been represented.”
The royal rowbarge made her high-profile maiden voyage on Sunday (June 3) as she led the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant, numbering Olympic medallist Sir Steve Redgrave and the Queen’s own barge master among its crew.
Mr Hare said he took his rowing cap off to the craftsmen who built the boat. “What we did was put the icing on the cake,” he said.
“But would you buy a cake that didn’t look very nice, even if you knew it tasted good? You’ve got to get it spot on.”