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Five grandmothers show how to camp for Coronation

[news] time:2023-06-02 02:49:30 source:BBC News (British Broadcasting Corporation) author:Press center6 click:66order

A group of pensioners is camping out for days in a bid to bag a prime spot to watch the ceremonial processions on the day of the King's Coronation.

Margaret Tinsley, 81, from Dorset, and her four friends set up camp on the Mall on Tuesday afternoon.

They have been sleeping under beach shelters and are ready to brave cold nights and rain for what they described as "a once-in-a-lifetime event".

They said they wanted to honour and thank the Royal Family.

King Charles III and Camilla, the Queen Consort, will be crowned in Westminster Abbey on 6 May.

The formal celebrations will begin with a procession from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Abbey, while another procession along the Mall will take place after the Coronation.

Ms Tinsely and her friends Jessie Young, 81, Eunice Hartstone, 79, Shirley Messinger, 76, and Elizabeth Couzens, 57, said they could not miss the event.

"We had to be here and because of my age we had to think about can we really do this, but you can't give in and age is only a number," Ms Tinsley said.

She said she wanted the King and the Queen to know they were loved.

"For me the Royal Family are our history, our tradition, our stability," Ms Tinsley added.

This is not the first time she and her friends have gone to such great lengths to attend royal events.

They camped out on the Mall on many other occasions, including the then-Prince Charles and Diana Spencer's 1981 wedding, as well as Prince Andrew's wedding to Sarah Ferguson in 1986.

Ms Messinger, from Milford on Sea, in Hampshire, has been friend with Ms Tinsley for more than 50 years and said they had to be in London for the King's Coronation.

"We had to be here, we only live once. We are creating more memories," she said.

The friends travelled together with one large rucksack, a sun lounger, a gas stove and a trolley full of gin, wine and plenty of food, including coronation chicken and meringue pudding.

Ms Hartstone, 79, from West Moors, in Dorset, said it was the atmosphere and "friendship with complete strangers" that made it special.

"It would have been nothing on your own," she said.

"But the special thing is to see the King before and after the coronation and to be part of a special day," Ms Hartstone added.

I have been camping many times but last night was like no other.

In less than 24 hours these five ladies have become proper celebrities.

People stop to talk to them and take their pictures with them.

This incredible group of friends have attracted the attention of locals, tourists and media from all over the world from Italy to Japan.

Their stamina is amazing and they are spoiling me with food and drinks.

I must admit the night was freezing, despite the sleeping bags and many blankets.

But the warmth of their friendship, and hot drinks, is making this experience unforgettable.

Ms Young, 81, came all the way from Kilmarnock, Scotland, to join the group.

She met Ms Tinsely in 1967 and the two have been friends ever since, attending other royal events together.

This year the group has also welcomed a new friend, Ms Couzens, who has joined them for the first time.

The 57-year-old from New Milton, in Hampshire, said she would have not felt confident to camp out on her own but she felt she was in safe hands with the other four ladies.

They are all looking forward to the celebrations before heading home on Saturday afternoon.

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(editor-in-charge:Press center6)

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