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Queen of the cashell

Wednesday, 26th March, 2014 7:22pm

Cork was well represented on the steps of Buckingham Palace on Tuesday when Queen Elizabeth II hosted a special reception for invited guests in advance of the State Visit of President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins in April.

For one Cork woman, it was a once in a lifetime event which she thoroughly enjoyed. Dr Katherine Cashell from Bishopstown who is a lecturer at Brunel University and Chair of the Great Britain Branch of Engineers Ireland was among the lucky few hundred that was invited to the reception.

“There were about 300 or so there but it didn't seem like that many on the night, It was just very obvious how happy everyone was to be there. I hadn't put much thought into it before I went and I was more excited about getting to see the inside of Buckingham Palace but looking back on it now it was an amazing experience, it was a lot bigger and a lot better than I ever though it could be, “ said Katherine.

Katherine wore an Irish design by Carolyn Donnelly for the reception which she said was very relaxed and casual.

“We were first shown to a holding room where everyone was chatting and I even spoke to the head chef in Buckingham Palace and when I told him I was from Cork he told me about the great relationship the palace has with Pat O'Connell after the Queen's visit to Cork. We were then guided to another room where we got to meet the Queen and she was lovely. I couldn't believe how warm and welcoming she was and it was very impressive.”

A drinks reception followed where the royal family mixed with the invited guests and Queen Elizabeth spoke to Katherine and was very interested to hear that she was from Cork and they spoke about her trip to Ireland too.

“I was particularly impressed with Princess Anne and she was very cool and another nice aspect is that we got to speak to all the staff there too.I didn't expect the Queen to be chatting to people in such a casual way and there was a real party feel to the whole thing which was brilliant.”

Katherine said it was a once in a lifetime evening and said that everyone made the most of it and talked about the history of the occasion.

Cork - or possibly the world's - most recognised fishmonger, Pat O' Connell was also one of the lucky guests to be invited to the reception. Pat made the headlines three years ago when he charmed the Queen on her visit to The English Market, having jokingly made a reference to a monkfish which had the Queen smiling and was brilliantly captured on camera. Pat got duly suited up for the big occasion at Fitzgerald's Menswear last week ahead of the reception.

Rachel Allen was also in attendance and she brilliantly captured the moment outside Buckingham Palace with herself and Pat O' Connell on her Twitter account. Dr Emma Verling, a UCC graduate and native of Waterford was also on the invited list after being nominated to attend by her employer.

They joined some of Ireland's greatest stars including Imelda May, Niall Horan, Phillip Treacy, Orla Kiely and Eddie Jordan at the reception which lasted about two hours. The reception was held for both British and Irish people who have a strong connection to Ireland and Anglo-Irish organisations as well as Irish nationals living and working in the United Kingdom.

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