“When I met The Queen” – Chelsea Pensioner John Gallagher remembers

2nd June 2022

Chelsea Pensioner John Gallagher shares his memories of meeting Her Majesty The Queen on not one, but two separate occassions.

Chelsea Pensioner - John Gallagher
I was lucky enough to meet The Queen on two occasions. The Queen’s chauffeur is a friend of mine so he invited me to the Christmas party she holds for her staff and their families in Buckingham Palace Mews. After the Christmas carol concert The Queen came along – she always has roast chestnuts, which she loves. She had her equerry with her as she walked around and when they came near to me, I said, “I’d like to take this opportunity to wish you merry Christmas on behalf of the Chelsea Pensioners” and she thanked me very much.

I went to the party on a second occasion just before lockdown in December 2019. I was with Colin Thackery – the Chelsea Pensioner who won Britain’s Got Talent. After she was introduced to Colin, we decided to give her a copy of Colin’s book as a gift. She always takes a book to Sandringham with her and she wrote to tell Colin how interesting she found his story.

She seems to enjoy the party in the Mews because it’s not all pomp and circumstance and her staff are like her wider family.

Although the Queen is not tall and looks like a grandmother, as soon as she speaks she has authority and charisma. You know you’re talking to someone very special. 

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