Queen's Platinum Jubilee: Far from the pageantry at the palace, one town rolls back the years for Jubilee celebration

·3 min read

This tea dance in Matlock, Derbyshire, was designed to feel like the 1950s and many of the guests were fully on board with the theme.

As a band belted out "How much is that doggie in the window?" (from the well-known song, released the same year as the Queen's coronation) a bouffant hairdo and retro dress were among those gathered on the dancefloor in the town hall.

And many here remember the 50s, and the coronation, very well.

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Barbara Wall was "just 13" - she places great emphasis on the "just" - when Princess Elizabeth because Queen Elizabeth II.

"We didn't have a television in our home," she says.

"Everyone in the street went to one house where they had hired a television for the day just to watch the Queen.

"The room was absolutely packed with all our neighbours and we sat and watched it in their living room."

Ms Wall has been a fan of Her Majesty ever since.

"I think the word I would use to describe how I feel about the Queen is 'steadfast'. She said she was going to devote herself to the people and she's done that and more."

Her friend, Linda Boadle, is also a great admirer of the monarch. She was working at a local primary school in the 1980s when the Queen visited for the day.

Ms Boadle was struck by her warmth.

"The children were told they must not get out of their seats and, of course, you have to have one don't you?" she says.

"This little reception child got up out of her chair and went over to the Queen and said 'Where's your crown ma'am?'" remembers Ms Boadle.

"The Queen said: 'I just wear my crown for state occasions. This is a special occasion but it's not a state occasion.' She was just so, so lovely with this little child."

Among those tucking into their tea and scones, there seems to be a shared respect, and even fascination, with our 96-year-old head of state.

Poppy Chapman is nine years old and expresses a great desire for the Queen to be her grandmother (I don't mention this to her actual grandmother sitting nearby).

Poppy also admires, even covets, Her Majesty's dress sense.

"I like all of her hats because I like fashion, and so I want all of the hats," says Poppy emphatically.

Poppy is accompanied by her aunt, Patricia Chapman, who is less concerned with matters of style and more with the sensibilities of the younger royals, particularly William and Kate.

"They seem to be listening to changes, what's happening in the world in terms of various social issues, which has not necessarily been the case [in the past] as far as I know," says Ms Chapman.

This tea party isn't just a chance to honour the Queen's reign, it's also a pretty special day out for some of the local care home's residents after two lonely and strange years

"Coming to something like this they've been able to look forward to it, get dressed up, and have a lovely time, and they got to do the wheelchair waltz," says Rebecca Stephenson, manager at Valley Lodge Nursing Home.

What is a wheelchair waltz? It's exactly that, with some help from their carers in steering the dancing and avoiding a collision.

Far from The Mall and the pageantry at the palace, it was a wonderful tribute by a small town to a Queen.

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