Chatham tea room celebrates coronation

Chatham tea room celebrates coronation

Claiming the last reservations after being on the waiting list, Patty Graham and Dianne Denby pulled out all the stops on Saturday.

They joined their friends for an afternoon tea, held at Mrs. Bell’s Tea Room in downtown Chatham, to celebrate the coronation of King Charles III at Westminster Abbey in London.

“It’s a good excuse to pull our hats out of the closet,” Denby, of Woodstock, said as they sat at the table, decorated with the Canadian flag and Union Jack.

Graham, of Chatham, called it an exciting occasion, given the coronation was the first they’ve experienced in their lifetime, with the last one occurring in 1953.

“It’s a time in history. It’s nice to celebrate,” she said.

While they would’ve happily marked the event at home, Denby said taking part in something special will help make it more memorable years down the road.

The King took the throne after the death of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, in September last year, making him at 74 the oldest new monarch in British history.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Gov. Gen Mary Simon were among the dignitaries who made the trip.

Indigenous leaders were also on the Canadian guest list, including Assembly of First Nations National Chief RoseAnne Archibald, President of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami Natan Obed and President of the Metis National Council Cassidy Caron.

Wanda Bell, owner of the tea room, hosted three different seatings. She said they sold out within a week.

“I think (the coronation) is very exciting,” she said. “It’s very impressive, all the pomp and pageantry.”

Thousands of visitors from across the world camped overnight along the two kilometer route that was traveled by the procession.

For the first time, female clergy took part in the coronation. He was also the first to include representatives of the Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim and Sikh faiths.

Bell said she appreciated the King being inclusive during the celebration. She added he brings a number of strengths to the role.

“I think he’s likeable. He cares,” she said. “And he’s done a lot of service over the years. And that’s important. … He’s speaking by example.”

– With Postmedia files