In the Coronation Special Issue of Pathfinder, Editor, Mal Robinson looked back on his father and his own calamitous occasion meeting the then Prince Charles, now King Charles III.
“My Father served 24 years in The Cheshire Regiment, leaving to become a then NRPS in the Royal Signals Northern Band, eventually leaving the Army in 2005 after first joining in 1961 – an amazing 44 years service!
He was a trombonist in bands connected with both regiments and as such featured in various ceremonial occasions through the years. However, it was time away from the parade square, when he met the then Prince Charles, Prince of Wales.
My Father first met Prince Charles whilst in The Cheshire Regiment in the early 1980’s whilst stationed in Chepstow. An old photo tends to do the rounds at times and across social media of Charles sat chatting in one of the messes to the troops in a very casual manner, my Uncle Dave sat in the middle and my Dad, Jim, sat behind.
Dad always noted how down to earth he was and very easy to talk to – a trait commented by many over the decades.
Fast forward twenty or so years and another opportunity to be the future King for Dad and this time my Uncle Stan (whom also served in the Cheshire Regiment, alongside another two Uncles, Uncle Milton and Dave, who formed quite a family element within the Cheshire’s band) at a Regimental reunion in Chester.
Both he and Stan, now well versed Veterans, chatted once again with Charles, the photo of the back of my Dad’s head, stood next to Stan, now taking the place of the previous photo in doing the rounds, on meeting Charles. I do recall my Father stating, Charles remembered his visit to Chepstow, all of those years previous.
My own encounter with Charles took place at RAF Lyneham, when stationed there with Base Air Movements Flight (BAMF). It was around 2004 and a Royal flight was departing from Lyneham, which they so often did.
Prince Charles was flying out that day and my Warrant Officer tasked me with taking one of his bags on board the aircraft, the rest were being loaded in the cargo hold.
“Don’t worry he’s not due for another 10 minutes” said the Warrant and up the aircraft steps I ran, placed his carry on bag on the first seat on the aircraft, where Charles’ aide was waiting to take it off me – job done.
As I thanked the aide and she did likewise, I turn at the entrance to the door of the plane, just as Charles had run up the stairs, bumping in to one another and nearly sending the future King flying! Luckily, Charles was not fazed, unlike me, who was mortified and I could see the Warrant Officer in fits of laughter down on the tarmac below.
Needless to say, my brush with Charles was found quite funny in the crew room for a while.”