Dickens enthusiast spends day at palace

EASTBOURNE’S Dickens Fellowship secretary Maggie de Vos has enjoyed a trip to Buckingham Palace as part of her busy week celebrating the Victorian novelist’s 200th birthday.

Maggie was delighted to be invited to Buckingham Palace and met The Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, the Duke of Kent and Princess Alexandra.

She was one of around 400 people at the event and told the Herald she had the time of her life.

She said, “It was absolutely wonderful to meet the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh. There were so many famous people there and the Queen shook hands with everyone.

“She is such a game and gallant woman. By the end of the evening my feet were killing me but she manages to do that sort of thing all the time and she is in her eighties – it is remarkable.”

Stars from the stage and screen including Helena Bonham Carter, Michael Ball and members of the Dickens family attended the royal party. The guests came from far and wide with some travelling from Australia, New Zealand, Japan and India for the occasion.

In addition, Maggie also attended a commemorative service and wreath laying at Westminster Abbey followed by a banquet at the Mansion House with the Lord Mayor of London David Wootton. Sir Patrick Stewart was doing Dickens readings for the event.

Maggie and fellow members of the local Dickens Fellowship also enjoyed a lunch at the Albany Hotel to celebrate the 200th birthday. She added, “It has been a brilliant week. It has been unbelievable and it just doesn’t seem real.”