Ipswich tourists get royal surprise

SURPRISED tourists from Ipswich had a right royal visit – when they met the future King of England on a day out.The coach load of visitors were delighted when they were invited to meet Prince Charles during their tour of Eltham Palace in London.

SURPRISED tourists from Ipswich had a right royal visit - when they met the future King of England on a day out.

The coach load of visitors were delighted when they were invited to meet Prince Charles during their tour of Eltham Palace in London.

The Members of the Friends of Ipswich Museum, who only shortly before knew they would be VIPs at the high profile tour, described the timely visit as a happy coincidence.

Vice-president Alan Swerdlow said: "We organise two or three visits a year and this time our members voted for Eltham Palace and the Red House in Bexleyheath - but we didn't know that there was going to be a royal visit."

Ironically, a quote on the English Heritage website says: "It is the unexpectedness of Eltham Palace and what you find inside that makes it so special".

They met Prince Charles in the palace grounds after he had been given a tour of the medieval Great Hall, the 1930s Art Deco house and had met members of the Eltham Society and English Heritage.

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Normally, tour groups would not have the opportunity to meet royalty in this way, but as they had booked the trip so far in advance, they were given special treatment.

Mr Swerdlow said: "Prince Charles is absolutely charming. He was delighted that people were taking an interest in the sorts of things he is interested in."

Fellow member Paul Bruce said: "He was very surprised that we had come such a long way to see the palace and then he said, 'hope I didn't get in the way!'

"I think it is nice that he took the time to talk to speak to people."

The Friends of Ipswich Museum, which raises funds and provides guided tours for the town's museums, will be visiting Compton Verney art gallery in Warwickshire in September.

If you would like to become a member, please contact Barbara Cole on 01473 630584.

Have you unexpectedly bumped into someone famous? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk or visit the forum at www.eveningstar.co.uk

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