Royal invitation

Gemma Sturt (M5) was invited to join the Duke of Edinburgh for luncheon at Buckingham Palace this last February. The Duke is Patron of the Royal Southern Yacht Club. This year, the Royal Southern is celebrating its 175th year anniversary. There are numerous celebrations being held by the club and Prince Philip is due to attend some of those celebrations. None the less, he wished to contribute even more by hosting luncheon for 150 members. A ballot was duly held and Gemma, a keen sailor of both dingy and yachts, was selected as the youngest member to attend.

Drinks were held in the Picture Gallery before proceeding to luncheon in the State Ballroom. There was a lot to assimilate, not only in terms of dress, security issues, correct table manners but also royal protocol. For example, persons are introduced to royalty and not the other way around. A small curtsey is appropriate on initial meeting and the Duke is initially addressed as “Your Royal Highness” and then subsequently as “Sir”. The most difficult protocol to put into practice was the recommended restraint on asking direct questions; a very tricky protocol whilst trying to maintain a conversation. However, a most convivial spring lunch was had by all.

Gemma Sturt and Georgina Stewart sailing

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