Row erupts over Queen's visit invites

A ROW has broken out over who has been invited to meet the Queen when she visits East Anglia next month, it emerged last night.The Queen is due to visit Colchester and Harwich on November 25, accompanied by Prince Philip.

A ROW has broken out over who has been invited to meet the Queen when she visits East Anglia next month, it emerged last night.

The Queen is due to visit Colchester and Harwich on November 25, accompanied by Prince Philip.

In Harwich, which is celebrating the 400th anniversary of receiving its royal charter, it is expected Her Majesty will meet dignitaries at the town's historic Guildhall.

But veterans in the town are angry because they have not been invited to the event.


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Ed Bennett, chairman of the Royal Navy Association, Harwich and Dovercourt branch, said: "We think we are being slighted.

"I'm not bothered about being presented to the Queen, but at the same time we weren't even asked and this is what's annoyed me."

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He claims the town's organisations, including the Royal Air Force Association, Royal British Legion and Merchant Navy Association, have been told they cannot take part in a parade or assemble as a body during the Royal visit.

"We fought for the country and we won't even get to meet the Queen," said Mr Bennett, who has asked the group's secretary to write a letter of complaint to the town council. "It's a bit of a blasted cheek."

John Rutson-Kemp, secretary of the Royal Air Force Association, Harwich and Dovercourt branch, said none of his members had been asked to take part in the visit.

He said: "We have all served the Queen in the capacity as servicemen. A little recognition at a royal visit would be welcome."

He said RAFA takes part in most civic occasions in the town.

The Guildhall, which is organising the Harwich schedule, was yesterday unable to discuss any details of the Queen's visit. Under Buckingham Palace rules, the itinerary cannot be released until a fortnight beforehand.

But town councillor and former mayor Les Double said: "Nothing has been done in tablets of stone. Nobody has been invited and nobody has been uninvited."

He said the Guildhall was a small building, where 65 people could squeeze in at mayor-making. There will be room for fewer people at the royal visit, because the Queen has to be given a wider berth.

"Buckingham Palace is very much in favour of the Queen meeting as many people as possible. There will be lots of opportunity for local people to meet the Queen. One or two organisations think they have got more rights that some members of the public."

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