Old friends Pamela Cass and Victoria Plant went to enjoy the Whaley Bridge Rose Queen Festival last weekend, and ended up sharing jokes and a drink, as they recalled the day they were crowned by Princess Diana as Rose Queen and Rose Princess.
That was 25 years ago in 1990, when Diana visited the High Peak. Two weeks ahead of the festival, while Diana had stopped at the canal basin for a breather, she met Pamela and Victoria and performed the mini coronation..
Pam, then 16, was working at Swizzels in New Mills. She remembers her sunflower yellow, full length dress, which mum had spotted in a charity shop. “Diana asked me what the carnival was about, and I said it raised money for youth charities. She then placed the crown on me and said she was not used to putting a crown on a girl’s head.”
Victoria, 13 at the time, and part of Pam’s entourage, also received a crown. She recalls: “Diana said to me, Welcome to being a princess!”
Pamela and Victoria were part of one of the biggest crowds in recent years, who enjoyed the 40th annual event in warm sunshine. Pirates were much in evidence, filiing the float of 1st Taxal Scouts in the parade. Brothers of carnival royalty enjoyed brandishing their toy swords at the High Peak mayor and Whaley Bridge’s council chairman.
Elsewhere in the parade, Buxton’s Billerettes also celebrated their 40th anniversary, long established as favourite entertainers in Whaley Bridge. There was a brief interlude when a World War II Hurricane fighter flew over the site, before moving on to a series of other flypasts. The biggest anniversary – 150 years – also made the most noise. Whaley Bridge Band was in top form as they led the parade round the town.
Tim Mourne, chairman of the organisers, said: “Thanks to all who took part in the parade and made it a joyful summer day. And thanks to the generosity of public giving to the collection, which will help young people in our community.”
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