Portsmouth charity trustees enjoy party alongside new Duke and Duchess of Sussex
TRUSTEES from a Portsmouth charity got up close and personal with the newly-wed Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
The brush with royalty came yesterday as figures from The Royal Maritime Club in Portsmouth paid a trip to Buckingham Palace for a garden party, where Harry and Meghan fulfilled their first official engagement since getting married on Saturday.
The soiree was an early celebration for the 70th birthday of Prince Charles, who is a patron of the Queen Street hotel in Portsea.
Established in 1850, the destination was initially set up to look after sailors and marines who were ‘between ships’.
On Tuesday, its trustee chairman David Nesbit and his wife, Diana, appeared at the royal residence in London, alongside board members Mike Dawe, Jo Walters and general manager John Alderson.
Mr Alderson said: ‘Prince Charles has been patron for many years so we were absolutely thrilled to have been recognised and invited to such a special event, especially as it was the first official engagement for Harry and Meghan.
‘We were just feet away from the couple at one point. They looked wonderful and made a point of chatting to as many people as possible. It made our day.’
The Royal Maritime Club gained royal patronage in 1855, after Prince Albert visited the hotel – before Queen Victoria later became patron.
The hotel has hosted multiple royal visits since, including Queen Elizabeth II in 1986, with Prince Charles becoming patron in 2007.
The club gained charitable status in 1883 and membership is open to all serving and retired members of the armed forces and their families, as well as people from the Royal Navy, Royal Marines and Merchant Navy.