There was a right royal soirée in Snitterfield village Hall when the WI celebrated the recent visit by Pauline Brace to Buckingham Palace. Candles, white lace cloths, dainty flower arrangements and bottles of sparkling wine adorned the tables, while a delicious, traditional jam and cream-filled sponge cake with our coffee, rounded off the evening splendidly.

The lady of the hour came in her garden party outfit: a black and white suit sparkling with jet and silver in understated elegance. We asked about a matching hat but she told us she was happy not to have worn one, as the sharp wind had resulted in a game of ‘catch the hat’ as expensive creations bowled across the palace lawns, pursued by high-heeled owners.

Greeting the 8,000 WI members were the Duchess of Cornwall and the Countess of Wessex, both friendly and gracious, interested in their guests and impeccably dressed. The organisation for hand-shaking ran smoothly, with Beefeaters and helpful London bobbies marshalling the long queues in a subtle way. There were marquees on the lawns for the (rather sparse) teas, while the lake and magnificent trees provided areas of interest for the strolling ladies. The mild weather was occasionally sunny – perfect for a royal occasion – and Pauline counted herself fortunate to have been chosen as our representative.

‘Follow that,’ as they say, but our Committee did so by bringing all manner of useful and interesting articles they had made entirely from recycled materials. The old adages ‘make do and mend’ and ‘waste not, want not’ were admirably proved..

Our next meeting, on July 8, promises to be different in many ways, when Lady Elizabeth Cavendish will tell us about ‘The Begums of Nepal’.