A barbecue with Her Majesty

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THE LAST meeting of the Montrose and District Probus Club was on Tuesday, February 8, when the scheduled speaker unfortunately had to cancel at short notice due to illness.

However, the club was delighted to welcome the Rev. Graham Norrie, the former minister at the East and Old Parish Church in Forfar, who kindly agreed to step in and fill the gap.

Mr Norrie gave an interesting insight into what was a very special weekend in his ministry. In September 2006 he was invited to conduct the morning service at Crathie Kirk and spend the weekend as a guest of Her Majesty The Queen at Balmoral and members were given an illuminating and entertaining account of his stay there.

That weekend he was joined by the Earl of Home who was also a guest. The Earl had once been a page boy to The Queen when he was at school but was dismissed from his post when he grew to stand several inches taller than Her Majesty!

Mr Norrie told the club about the abundance of Corgis at Balmoral and how they would lie sprawled over the stairways and in the corridors before becoming very excited when Princess Anne appeared on the scene.

He spoke very warmly about the welcome he received from the Royal Family and how well-informed they were about his background - they even commented on the weekend football results when Gretna played Forfar Athletic!

The whole party enjoyed a barbecue by candlelight with The Queen herself driving a Land Rover and Prince Phillip and Princess Anne cooking the food.

Throughout the weekend Mr Norrie was impressed by the diligent and conscientiousness shown by The Queen to himself and the other guests.

He concluded by saying it was an experience he will always gratefully remember.