St John’s residents meet Queen Camilla during visit

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On 1st February, we were delighted that Her Majesty Queen Camilla visited Bath to join us to mark our 850th anniversary. Before attending the Service of Celebration at Bath Abbey, Her Majesty took the time to meet with 15 of our almshouse residents in our Chapel of St Michael’s Within, for some conversation over tea and cake.

We sat down with three residents from Combe Park to talk about their experience of the Royal visit.

Bill, almshouse resident

“I was absolutely chuffed to bits to be part of the day and to meet Queen Camilla, she is a very lovely lady. I have a picture in my flat of the Queen sat next to me which is brilliant. I really was privileged to be a part of the whole day. I also spotted myself in The Echo as they published the photo of the Queen and me. Some of the residents couldn’t believe I had made the paper and I couldn’t believe it myself!

“We chatted about my work at the hospital for 21 years and she asked about the tie I was wearing. I was wearing my Glenstone Cricket Club tie and she knew all about it, so she must have done her homework really well. I thought she was brilliant, and the St John’s staff worked very hard to make the day very special for us all.”

 Joan, almshouse resident

“The Queen is a very nice and down to earth lady. It was absolutely lovely that she walked around the room and spoke to all of us, and I will remember the day for a long time. I was glad to get a photo with Queen Camilla too, she’s shaking my hand so I’ll definitely keep it! Although I didn’t attend the service, I gather it was a great success.

“Over the last few months, I have been busy knitting and sewing for the 850th anniversary. I have been making mice with historical costumes to signify important people during St John’s eight and a half centuries. They are displayed in the cabinet in Fitzjocelyn House and I’m quite pleased with how that have come out so far.”

Janet, almshouse resident

“It was really lovely to meet Queen Camilla. I was so impressed with how down to earth she was and you could tell she wanted to take her time to meet us all, even though she was on a tight schedule. Instead of sitting down and speaking to us across the table, she got up and worked her way around the room to shake everyone’s hand and chat to us individually. We spoke about Combe Park and how lovely it is to live there as she visited a few years ago.

“I used to volunteer for children with learning disabilities and one of the girls I still keep in contact with was extremely excited about our visit from the Queen. I sent her a photo on WhatsApp which she really loved.”

Isla, almshouse resident

“It was an absolutely delightful day. Her Majesty exuded kindness towards each of us. She took a genuine interest in our lives, talking to us all individually and asking thoughtful questions. To have such a personal interaction with her was quite honestly was a cherry on the cake for my life.”

The celebration was a great success, made even more special by the presence of Her Majesty, and it is a day our residents and the whole St John’s team will remember for a very long time. Photos of our residents meeting Queen Camilla can be viewed here and click to read more about our special celebration.