Brush with royalty
WHERE people go wrong is acting their age, warns 89-year-old Englishman Peter Naylor.
“You don’t want to ever act your age; you’re far better off being a bit versatile about where you’re at,” he said.
Meet an ex-Pom turned Warwick resident, who has lived an extraordinary life.
The only child of a farming family he grew up in the outer reaches of a rural village in the UK.
“As a young boy in Lincolnshire I never dreamed I’d have anything to do with royalty,” he admitted.
But proof once again that truth is stranger than fiction, life bought him into close quarters with his beloved monarch on more than one occasion.
“Once I had to judge a farming competition at Windsor and the Queen’s Windsor Castle farm was one of the entries,” Mr Naylor said.
“She didn’t win first place though.
“She had Jersey cows and pigs, but in all honesty the place wasn’t that well run and this was an overall farm competition.”
Despite being less than impressed by the reigning monarch’s agricultural practices, Mr Naylor was still a staunch supporter of Queen Elizabeth and the royal family.
Years later, on July 9, 1991 to be exact, as leader of the local parish council he and his wife Eva were honoured with an invitation to a Buckingham Palace garden party.
“We had to wear lounge suits and respectable ties and we had scones and tea and fresh cream in the palace garden,” Mr Naylor said.
“We were taken on a tour, I mean there was no smoking or just wandering about of the rooms where dignitaries went.
“There we were just ordinary bods, going where lords and ladies went.
“The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh came down and mingled with us. They were very polite and friendly.”
A few years later his involvement with local government would bring him back in touch with royalty.
“I was involved with a village housing project that was overseen by Princess Anne,” Mr Naylor said.
“So we had lunch together on four different occasions and these weren’t big affairs.
“It was just a small group of people and she was lovely.”
He was never daunted by the fact she arrived in a helicopter which landed on the local cricket pitch.
“I never thought much of people who looked down on other people,” Mr Naylor said.
“We’re all human beings as far as I see it.”
The conversational gentleman relocated to Warwick to live with his daughter.
“There are only two of us left now; my wife and other daughter died before I left the UK so I moved here. I figured we needed to stick together,” Mr Naylor said.
Despite the sadness which has touched his life, he remains staunchly in favour of having a good time.
“After my wife died I picked up my courage and ran amok; I travelled everywhere: Germany, Paris back to Australia.
“I love Australia. Some of you are more English than an Englishman: You’ll chat to anyone.”
On a personal note he said our Southern Downs city has embraced him.
“I went to an 18th last weekend, so you can see I am very versatile,” he said.
“The quickest way to get old is to spend your days sitting in a chair.
“Me personally, well I’d prefer to walk.”