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Royal experience

Jamaicans say lunch with The Queen was a priceless experience

Friday, July 25, 2014    

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GLASGOW, Scotland — It is indeed a rarity for the proverbial common man to come within touching distance of a reigning monarch, let alone to shake hands and have tea.

Yes, three Jamaicans were among the chosen few to have lunch with Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth of England.

And, of course, tea was served.

As Glasgow got the XX Commonwealth Games under way yesterday, The Queen left her royal precincts for a lunch date with a selected group of athletes of the 70-odd competing nations at the Athletes' Village at the Emirates yesterday.

Hurdler Richard Phillips, netballer Nicole Aiken-Pinnock and Amateur Swimming Association of Jamaica President Martin Lyn were those selected to represent the contingent at the royal sit-down.

"It was an absolutely breathtaking moment... this is something a lot people only dream of," said Aiken-Pinnock, when the Jamaica Observer called on her.

"She (The Queen) was lovely and I truly enjoyed her company," beamed Aiken-Pinnock just four hours prior to her team's opening match against St Lucia at the SECC Arena.

The 6ft 2in goalkeeper of the Sunshine Girls told the Observer that when the news was broken the her that she was one of two Jamaican athletes selected for the lunchtime soirée, her reaction was simply this: "Oh, the Queen is meeting The Queen."

Lyn, who is also a Jamaica Olympic Association vice-president, was equally bowled over by the experience.

"To have met The Queen is a great moment for me... she was nice and cordial. There is no doubt this will be an uplifting experience for me as an individual," he said.

"Most people only imagine doing something like that, and this really just something from a story book," Lyn added.

He claimed he actually shook hands and exchanged words with British Monarch and the ceremonial head of the Commonwealth of Nations.

"She said to me that, 'I have been told that Jamaica has a strong team here', and I responded by saying, 'that's true, my lady'."

Lyn claimed that he told the Queen the Jamaicans had brought a wheel barrow to Scotland, and she seemed puzzled by the comment and asked why. "I explained to her that we will need it to take away the medals we will win here," Lyn noted.

The Queen was accompanied by her husband, Prince Phillip.

But that has not been the only royal encounter for Jamaican athletes as boxer Cheavon Clarke had a mock sparring session with The Queen's son and heir apparent Prince Charles toured the village a day earlier.

-- Sean Williams

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