When a former Louth mayor met the future King Charles III – ‘It is a moment I will never forget’
Drogheda’s Frank Godfrey and Isobel Sanroma recall meeting Prince Charles in 1995
One Drogheda man who was proudly watching Prince Charles be crowned King Charles III over the weekend was former local councillor Frank Godfrey.
Back in 1995, the former Mayor of Drogheda met the Prince at a garden party in Northern Ireland, where he conversed for around three minutes about Anglo-Ireland relations, introducing his mother Mary-Kate Godfrey, who was Lady Mayor at the time.
Local Chernobyl activist Isobel Sanroma also had the honour of meeting Prince Charles that day, along with award-winning photographer Des Clinton.
“I had the honour of meeting the future king, Prince Charles, in 1995 and it is a moment I will never forget,” says Frank. “Sir Patrick Mayhew, their Northern Ireland Secretary introduced me to him in my capacity as Mayor of Drogheda at the time, whilst attending the garden party at Hillsborough Castle, in Co Down”.
The pair shook hands and engaged in a few minutes of conversation, the moment captured forever by the Prince’s personal photographer.
When Sir Patrick, introduced me to him, Prince Charles said “I have heard about this man!
And it would seem Frank’s reputation had proceeded him, reaching the walls of Buckingham Palace for good or evil!
"He struck me as someone with a good sense of humour and he was very charming,” explains Frank. “When Sir Patrick, introduced me to him, Prince Charles said “I have heard about this man!”
Frank and the Prince spoke about Irish British relations, and how we must strive to work hard for peace and reconciliation.
"He had a deep appreciation and knowledge of Irish affairs and I have no doubt he will visit the Republic of Ireland during his reign as King of England,” says Frank. “I hope he will include Drogheda in his itinerary, as I invited him in the past. I believe Charles III will make a powerful king, as he was well tutored by his late mother, Queen Elizabeth”.
On that memorable occasion, Frank was accompanied by his late mother, Mary Kate, as Lady Mayor of Drogheda, the photographer Des Clinton and Isobel Lynch Sanroma.
“He was an absolute gentleman and it was just a dream come true to be there and to meet Prince Charles; a real treat,” recalls Isobel. ”He came along and he spoke to us and he said to me “I love your hat” and I said “thank you”!
Isobel said she proudly watched the coronation, and is a big fan of the Royal Family.
"I was around for the Queen’s coronation so this is the second one I’ve watched,” she says. “And he's the second king I’ve met because when King Juan Carlos came to Dublin, way back, I went up to the embassy and we met him.”
You know the way Charles and Camilla go around chatting to people, well that's exactly how he was that day. It didn't feel like that he was a member of the royal family
Isobel says she couldn’t believe how down to earth the Prince was on that day 28 years ago.
“You know the way Charles and Camilla go around chatting to people, well that's exactly how he was that day. It didn't feel like that he was a member of the royal family,” she adds. "Franks was lucky enough to get a photo, but I didn’t; there was no selfies back then!”
Even local photographer extraordinaire Des Clinton was without his camera that day, as everyone’s were removed when they entered the building.
Of course, if Frank has his way, then newly crowned King Charles III will be welcomed to his Country Cottage in return.
“I have written and sent my best wishes to His Majesty the new king last week, reminding him of when we met and wishing him a very successful and enjoyable reign,” says Frank. “I think he's going to be good for Ireland and is a man who wants to unite people, and, and we must move on from the past to the future with the Irish and English.
"I believe he will visit Ireland again as King and of course, he is more than welcome to visit Drogheda, and my home too.”