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The day we met Princess Diana at Suffolk Show

PUBLISHED: 05:32 28 May 2020

Princess Diana at the Suffolk show in 1986  Picture: ARCHANT

Princess Diana at the Suffolk show in 1986 Picture: ARCHANT

Archant

It’s not every day you get to meet the most famous woman of her era.

Princess Diana is introduced to from left, Terry Tooley, 'Butch' Hartley, Tony Hore and Barry Saxon of Tuckwells  Picture: TUCKWELLSPrincess Diana is introduced to from left, Terry Tooley, 'Butch' Hartley, Tony Hore and Barry Saxon of Tuckwells Picture: TUCKWELLS

But back in 1986, Paul Tuckwell and his team did exactly that. Tuckwells farm machinery dealership, based in Worlingworth, was at the Suffolk Show, and that year the company outdid itself by scooping the best trade stand and best stand awards.

It was already looking like a great year – but to cap it all, the show’s surprise guest was none other than Princess Diana – and she was scheduled to meet the winning team.

MORE – Suffolk Show cancelled ‘with great sadness’ due to coronavirus

The family-run business had just two hours to prepare before the celebrated royal touched down by helicopter to begin her tour of the show.

Thirty-four years on, Paul Tuckwell recalled his brush with mega-fame at the age of 30.

Princess Diana being introduced to the Tuckwells at the Suffolk Show in 1986. Paul is pictured to the right, with his late father, Leonard, to his right and his late mother, Brenda, to his right  Picture: TUCKWELLSPrincess Diana being introduced to the Tuckwells at the Suffolk Show in 1986. Paul is pictured to the right, with his late father, Leonard, to his right and his late mother, Brenda, to his right Picture: TUCKWELLS

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“She was brilliant. As you can imagine, there was an awful lot of people milling around the stand. She came onto the stand and we had all the people lined up in front of the marquee.

“I said: ‘Will you meet the staff?’ and she said: ‘All of them?’”

There were about 30, but undaunted, the princess stepped out to meet them. “She went along the whole lot – and spoke to several of them,” recalled Paul.

Paul Tuckwell in front of Princess Diana at the Suffolk Show in 1986  Picture: TUCKWELLSPaul Tuckwell in front of Princess Diana at the Suffolk Show in 1986 Picture: TUCKWELLS

“She was in a very good mood – delightful. She had a chat with myself and my brother (Dave) and my father (Leonard).

“Everyone was pretty buoyant after that – it’s not every day that happens.”

He recalled the “great excitement” around her arrival.

And did she live up to the hype? “She was gorgeous,” said Paul.


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