Coronation celebration in Parklands

River Glade Retirement Village resident Nancy Bleeker, 91, with pictures she managed to snap of some of the royals during a visit to the UK.

Residents of the River Glade Retirement Village in Parklands celebrated the coronation of King Charles III in style on Saturday May 6.

British flags, banners, and balloons hung overhead and residents were treated to a high tea as the coronation procession played on a projector screen.

Scones decorated with whipped cream and jam, British-style cucumber sandwiches and other snacks filled the tables in the lounge area of the retirement village, while numbered tables were set out for seating.

As the residents entered, some of them in wheelchairs or using walking sticks, they were given stickers with “Princess”, “Prince”, “King” or “Queen” before their first names.

Many of them had once lived in the UK and they recalled having either watched the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in person or on television back in 1953.

Some South African-born residents said they had only learned about the royal family later in life because there had been no TVs in South Africa until the early 1970s.

Many of the residents were not willing to be quoted on their opinions of King Charles III.

Nancy Bleeker, 91, said that during one of her frequent visits to the UK she had managed to snap pictures of some of the royals on their way to Ascot.

She also recalled asking a guardsman if she could touch his uniform, and he had allowed it. The day had been “quite humid”, but asked if he was hot, the guardsman had said, “no”.

“It was the most amazing thing to see, and to be so close to them was wonderful,” she added.

Another resident, Jane Sadler, 75, was born in the UK and was 4 at the time of Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation. She still has a New Testament Bible with a sticker of the queen’s emblem, which she received from her teacher.

She remembered that her school had hosted a coronation party that year and her mom had made for her a “queen of hearts” outfit to wear.

She moved to South Africa at the age of 7 but continued to keep up to date with the royal family.

Debbie Graham, a resident who helped to organise the event, said she had lived in the UK for most of her life and had returned to take care of her mother, 93, who is also a resident at the retirement home.

Ms Graham brought souvenirs to the party, including coronation bingo, to “spice things up”.

Organisers of the event, Debbie Graham and Beth Haworth.
Brian Schenck was the master of ceremonies at the party.
The residents at River Glade Retirement Village in Parklands enjoyed the afternoon with their neighbours.
The residents were thrilled to see the decorations on the table