Archive » June 7, 2012
By Pat Murphy, Contributing Writer
It’s not every day that one receives an invitation from a monarch! But this is exactly what happened to Monty and Pat Roberts.
They were invited to attend Queen Elizabeth of England’s Diamond Jubilee celebration. Monty was asked to ride in the elaborate horse show, and there were also other invitations. The Roberts were invited to attend a bevy of teas, receptions and several black-tie dinners, and Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip would be in attendance at most of them.
So they packed several large suitcases and got on the airplane.
“We were picked up and taken to Windsor Castle and ensconced in the Margaret Thatcher suite with butlers and security,” Monty said. “We found that this amazing royal couple got up at about 6 o’clock every morning and 92-year-old Prince Phillip would go down to the stable and drive his four-up ponies! One morning, I was at the stable getting ready to exercise Hawk, who was flown over from Duibai. He was one of the Willing Partners horses that I had sold to a sheik in that country. Prince Phillip, who is just recovering from open-heart surgery, came by with his lady driving trainer joking that he liked to drive his ponies with a pretty girl at his side.”
There were several rehearsals in the rain, lasting late into the night on Monday and Tuesday, then Wednesday was a dress rehearsal. Finally, the paid performances ran Thursday through Sunday. “We were all in a huge 2-acre open arena and it was very cold at night. So I had multiple layers of underwear under my Western shirt because they didn’t want me in a jacket. The show was beautiful with several carriages and, at one time, there were a thousand horses in the arena.
“During the jubilee, each country had its own reception and people would be lined up along the wall and the queen, who is 86, would greet each one. Smaller countries like the Cook Islands, Figi, New Zealand, and Australia had their receptions together. Canada, Germany France and Russia, Oman, Arab Emirates had their own receptions.”
Did they meet Will and Kate? “No, Prince William was off preparing for the Summer Olympics, which will be in London. But there was a member of the royal family at every performance which also included Prince Charles, Princess Ann and Prince Michael. It was an absolutely unbelievable experience!”