Bennie Banares, from Vancouver, Canada, writes a Christmas card to the Queen every year.
So, with Her Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee approaching, she naturally sent the monarch a letter to find out how she could be involved.
Five months later the 63-year-old and a group of 43 friends from Canada found themselves on the banks of the Thames in Battersea Park where the Diamond Jubilee Festival was held.
She said: “Even in my dreams I couldn’t imagine being here for the 60th Diamond [Jubilee].”
The Queen’s secretary had replied to her with information on where to buy tickets.
“I knew everything before the tour operators,” she said.
“It is such a privilege to be here. I always read about fairy tales but this is real.”
The festival was dubbed a chance to celebrate “eccentric British culture”, bringing together artists, designers, chefs and bakers.
There was high demand for tickets and up to 90,000 people attended.
Those who could drag themselves away from the riverside where spaces were saved and camps set up found the chance to dress up as a queen.
They could also watch an attempt to build the tallest cake in Britain, enjoy buns baked by the Women’s Institute, dance to live music, make their own crown or escape to a tranquil tent for some storytelling.
Continue reading here.