The scene Mabel had to confront!
Whilst we were in Coventry I was elected a director of the Press Association, the domestic news agency of the United Kingdom, it was the year they were celebrating their centenary. I was the first director to join the Board of the new century being appointed at the annual general meeting which was held The Crypt at The Guildhall in London in 1968 and that evening a reception was held in The Guildhall, attended by The Queen. When the Directors and their wives were presented to Her Majesty, the Court Correspondent of the Press Association announced our names and we had to walk across a dias to meet The Queen. Mabel and I had not been alerted beforehand that we were to be presented and somewhat alarmed when we heard the arrangements and to know that our every movement would be watched by a large gathering of guests invited from all over the country. Mabel was superb and coped to the manner born as The Queen spoke to us for a few moments.
During the 1962 we attended Press Association celebrations in Belfast, Cardiff and Dublin and Mabel met many distinguished political leaders, including Captain Terence O’Neill (Prime Minister of Northern Ireland) and also Eámon de Valera (President of Éire). We also heard but were not introduced to the Revd. Ian Paisley. Years later in Birmingham we were again presented to Her Majesty when The Queen opened the National Exhibition Centre. I was then a Vice-President of the Birmingham Chamber of Industry and Commerce and the Lord Mayor of Birmingham when he formally presenting us made a rather fulsome introduction about myself, ending by saying to The Queen ‘He really is Mr Birmingham!’ The Queen with a smile then looked to Mabel, and asked ‘And who are you?’ Mabel with a broad grin replied ‘I am just his wife!’ You can see from the equally broad grin on The Queen’s face mere man being put in his place . . .