‘I’m reading a book about Princess Elizabeth’s visit to East Africa; and so I’m remembering her visit to South Africa in 1947. I’ll never forget it.’
This is Mother Mary Methodist speaking, reminiscing.
‘I was nursing at the Boksburg-Benoni hospital and the Royal Family cavalcade was going to pass right in front of the hospital. We all went down to the road in our uniforms and we just knew she was going to stop and chat to us because the porters had wheeled Daphne down from Ward 7 and put her hospital bed right at the edge of the road.’
Daphne was well-known: Young and paralysed from diving into a shallow pool. The King and the Queen and the Princesses would definitely stop, lean forward and have an earnest chat with Daphne making sure not to get too close. Mary and her fellow nurses crowded round Daphne’s bed and waited breathlessly, the loyal Royalists they were. And here they come!
And there they go. They drove straight past. Didn’t stop; just a vague wave in the general direction!
But of course loyal Monarchist Mary immediately made excuses for Their Royal Bliksems: ‘They were on a very tight schedule.’
Bah, jou moer Koning Jors, us republicans would have said. Actually, we wouldn’t have been out on the road waiting . . we would have pretended to not even know they were visiting . . Who? King of where?
Later Mom’s friend, nurse Audrey Beyers was chosen to accompany Daphne to America for an operation. She doesn’t know what transpired, except Audrey got married and became Audrey King.