Royalty and statesmen




The Queen gets to know Gracie, a specially trained golden retriever who helps her owner Gary Flathers tackle the challenges of life as a QC. The high-profile lawyer, who suffers from multiple sclerosis, says the talented animal makes an enormous difference to his quality of life
Photo: © EMPICS
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Prince Charles and his wife Camilla were on hand to share the hosting duties
Photo: © EMPICS


13 JULY 2006

The Queen has always worked hard to recognise the efforts of those people who best embody the spirit of Britishness, but it's not just human beings who deserve the occasional pat on the back, as the monarch discovered when she hosted a garden party in Buckingham Palace this week.

Around 8,000 people were invited along to the bash, which was staged to celebrate normal people who have overcome hardship and tragedy to help build a better future for themselves and their communities. And Her Majesty, who was keen to meet as many of her guests as possible, was especially charmed by a four-legged visitor called Gracie.

The hard-working pooch had gone along to accompany disability campaigner Gary Flather, who suffers from multiple sclerosis. Her proud owner explained how the highly-trained Golden Retriever helped him with the many challenges of his hectic life as a Queen's Counsel barrister.

Gary and Gracie were just two among a huge throng of heroic Britons who met up for tea and cake on the Palace lawns, however, so the monarch had her work cut out to meet everyone. Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall were also on hand to help with the hosting duties, though, so quite a few of those present got the chance to enjoy a brush with royalty.

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