MEMORY LANE: The day Princess Diana made me a queen...

Princess Diana, Whaley Bridge 1990
Princess Diana, Whaley Bridge 1990

Old friends Pamela Cass and Victoria Plant went to enjoy the Whaley Bridge Rose Queen Festival last weekend, and ended up sharing jokes and a drink, as they recalled the day they were crowned by Princess Diana as Rose Queen and Rose Princess.

That was 25 years ago in June 1990, when Diana visited the High Peak.

Pamela Cass with the 2015 royalty Katie Fairs (left) and Seren Adlington.

Pamela Cass with the 2015 royalty Katie Fairs (left) and Seren Adlington.

Two weeks ahead of the festival, while Diana had stopped at the canal basin for a breather, she met Pamela and Victoria and performed the mini coronation.

Pam, then 16, was working at Swizzels in New Mills.

She remembers her sunflower yellow, full length dress, which mum had spotted in a charity shop.

“Diana asked me what the carnival was about, and I said it raised money for youth charities,” said Pam.

Pamela Cass, left, with Victoria Plant.

Pamela Cass, left, with Victoria Plant.

“She then placed the crown on me and said she was not used to putting a crown on a girl’s head.”

Victoria, aged 13 at the time, and part of Pam’s entourage, also received a crown. She recalls: “Diana said to me ‘welcome to being a princess!’”

The Princess also visited New Mills, Dove Holes, Gamesley and Charlesworth during her visit to the High Peak in 1990.

The Advertiser of the day reported how cheers rang out from the huge crowds, whose frantically waving flags made a sea of red, white and blue wherever she went in the borough.

“Whaley was transformed by colourful, cheerful crowds of locals and school children were overwhelmed by the excitement,” it said.

As well as her crowning duties and meeting the flurry of onlookers, the Princess enjoyed lunch on board the Judith Mary II in the marina.

There was also music and dance performances by pupils from Whaley Bridge, Furness Vale, Taxal and Chapel schools.

Fast forward 25 years, and Pamela and Victoria were part of one of the biggest crowds in recent years, who enjoyed the 40th annual Whaley Bridge Rose Queen Festival in warm sunshine.

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