Her Majesty's Birthday Tea

The Queen's Official Birthday, the Queen's Birthday, or the Sovereign's birthday is the day on which the birthday of the monarch of the Commonwealth realms (currently Queen Elizabeth II) is officially celebrated in some of the realms and in Fiji, which is now a republic. The sovereign's birthday was first officially marked in the United Kingdom in 1748. Since then, the date of the king or queen's birthday has been determined throughout the British Empire and later the Commonwealth according to either different royal proclamations issued by the sovereign or governor or by statute laws passed by the local parliament. The exact date of the celebration today varies from country to country and generally does not fall on the day of the monarch's actual birthday (that of the present monarch being 21 April[1]). In some cases, it is an official public holiday, sometimes coinciding with the celebration of other events. Most Commonwealth realms release a Birthday Honours List at this time. The Queen's birthday is celebrated now around the world and The Houston Grampian Association honours the Queen at the time of her birthday each year.


2015 Celebration

To celebrate Her Majesty's birthday for the eighth consecutive year, the Houston Grampian Association convened our annual "Queen's Tea" and were joined by attendees from various organizations, such as The Gilbert and Sullivan Society, English Speaking Union and The Daughters of the British Empire, in addition to folks who were in attendance for the first time.

After her opening remarks, our Chairman, Mary Metz introduced Alistair Donkin, no stranger to us, and to our good fortune, another visit to share his talents with us and to entertain us, walking through the audience and singing to each table with his very special charm and wit. His accompanist this year was, once again, Brandon Pafford. Prior to singing, Alistair talked about the origin of PIRATES OF PENZANCE in which he is presently appearing in the Gilbert and Sullivan production in Houston, but in his opening remarks he said that the picture of Mary Metz in front of the microphone reminded him of the Queen when she was hidden by the microphone. Like the Queen, Mary is short of stature, but mighty of character and initiative. She is shown to the right presiding at the event.

To begin his presentation, Alistair said it was appropriate for him to start with an excerpt from YEOMEN OF THE GUARD, since it is set in one of the Queen’s palaces. He sang The Jester’s song, “Oh a Private Buffoon” and with tongue in cheek raised the question, "Who is best suited to be in charge of the Royal Navy?" saying,"you would think a Sailor, but not in Great Britain. There it is a politician – could never happen in the USA, or could it?" Then he sang Sir Joseph Porter’s song “When I was a lad" from H.M.S. PINAFORE.

He reminded us of the theft by unscrupulous Americans with entrepreneurial skills, watching a production of H.M.S. PINAFORE and then putting together a production in the USA and thus not paying royalties due Gilbert and Sullivan. The D’Oyly Carte Opera company had a double premier of one of Gilbert and Sullivan’s most popular comic operas, PIRATES OF PENZANCE on December 31, 1879 at Fifth Avenue Theatre in New York, and the Bijou Theatre, Paignton, Devon England to secure copyright laws. Alistair then sang the Major General’ song, “ I am the Very Model of Modern Major General”.

Alistair was a Solicitor before joining the D’Oyly Carte opera Company and would never have reached the heights of Lord Chancellor – but in IOLANTHE that is the role he played, wearing the gold and encrusted robe that comes with the office. He sang the song “The law is the true embodiment”, explaining his legal role in “giving away Wards of Court”. He finished with a song for Mary Metz who was responsible for bringing Alistair to the USA. This was a song that her father used to sing to her as a child - Ko Ko’s love song to Katisha, “Tit Willow”. Just as he began to sing, a dove flew onto it’s nest right outside the window of the room we were in. Alistair is shown singing to Mary in the photo above..

Teapots were in abundance this year and each table had several which had been brought by attendees. Our luncheon and the enjoyment of tea was just right and included delicious finger sandwiches, assorted fruit and tasty scones and the Brae-Burn Country Club staff provided excellent table service. At the end of the enjoyment of tea and the tasty treats, door prizes were given for the most original and the prettiest tea pots.

Our members and guests expressed great enjoyment and once again, our thanks to Alistair Donkin for his generosity and enrichment of this celebration. Present were folks of all ages, including children as you can see in photos below which show everyone enjoying this wonderful occasion.





2014 Celebration



At the Brae Burn Country Club, 80 people enjoyed this year's celebration of the Queen's birthday. At our tea were representatives from the Houston Grampian Association, The Gilbert and Sullivan Society, English Speaking Union, The Daughters of the British Empire, St Martins Episcopal Church and many more friends. President John Lee opened by welcoming everyone and gave a brief introduction to The Houston Grampian Association and our programmes .

He then introduced Alistair Donkin, who entertained us with delightful excerpts from a number of Gilbert and Sullivan Comic Operas, including H.M.S. PINAFORE, PIRATES OF PENZANCE and IOLANTHE. He told the story of this years G & S Society production of SORCERER and then performed a patter song from SORCERER. He finished up with singing Chairman, Mary Metz favourite piece from MIKADO “Willow Tit Willow“ and dedicated it, much to her embarrassment to her for her 55 years with the G & S Society.

The large, diverse crowd present represented a number of organizations as indicated above, and in the photo below are a group of ladies. In their midst is a man named Randael Smith. He enjoys dressing in the British WWI uniform when attending appropriate events. He is a member of Gilbert & Sullivan.

Following a delightful tea, Carol Decker presented gifts to the winners for the prettiest and most unusual teapots and three door prizes. As usual this was a very popular event held annually by HGA and it always attracts a large gathering to celebrate the Queen's birthday and to enjoy Alistair's presentation. The photos below show many of our attendees and the winners of the best tea pots as well as door prize winners. Please note that in the first photo are our student nurses Melanie Honeycutt and Isha Patel, who have just returned to Houston from their exchange visit to Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen, and in the very last photo is Sue Schneider who coordinates the exchange program for us and for Houston Baptist university.






2013 Celebration



With a full house in the Grand Ballroom of the Brae-Burn Country Club in Houston, Alistair Donkin once again unleashed his delightful talent on our group of appreciative members and guests as we enjoyed our sixth celebration Tea of Her Majesty's birthday. Alistair was with the Original D'Oyly Carte Opera Company which was formed to produce Gilbert and Sullivan Comic Operas. As a performer he has appeared with the London Savoyards and the Magic of Gilbert & Sullivan. He has sung with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, the Bournemouth Sinfonietta, the BBC Concert Orchestra (broadcast on BBC Radio 2) and the English Philharmonic Orchestra, appearing at all the major concert venues, including the Barbican Hall, the Royal Festival Hall, the Royal Albert Hall and the new Birmingham Symphony Hall. He walked amongst us and sang directly to us and his performance was not to be missed.

This year, as he prepares for this year's Gilbert & Sullivan performance of H.M.S. Pinafore at Houston's Wortham Theater in July, he shared a variety of comic opera musical excerpts from productions such as Pirates of Penzance and several others. As fate would have it, a number of the G&S performers were present in the audience and delighted us by singing the chorus of his offerings from their seats at the tables in the ballroom. This filled our room with wall to wall delightful music and enhanced Alistair's performance nicely. In the photo to the left, Alistair is shown doing his magic and to the right, he is shown with his accompanist, Brandon Pafford and his wife Elizabeth.

As we gathered in preparation for this delightful event, we renewed old friendships and made many new ones. Standing near the registration table in the photo to the left are GHA board member, Carol Decker and Marti McWhirter and shown to the right are our Chairman, Mary Metz, with Stuart Gibson, his wife Alejandra, and Carol Decker.

To kick off our sixth annual celebration of the Queen's birthday with this tea in her honour, our president, John Lee offered greetings on behalf of the Houston Grampian Association and then we received greetings with remarks from Rachel Atterstrom, Assistant to Honorable Andrew Millar, British Consul General. Our entertainment began immediately after this by Alistair Donkin, his pianist and of course, the impromptu and very lovely chorus of attendees who joined in to enliven the presentation.

The tea and food service this year were most enjoyable and we each received delicious finger sandwiches, assorted fruit and excellent scones and, rather than the buffet service we've had in the past, the Brae-Burn Country Club staff provided table service so as not to interrupt our visits at the tables and to be sure that each attendee was taken care of in honourable style. Each year, we've learned better and better how to make the event one which can easily be enjoyed by all who attend. Many of our attendees this year were first-time guests at this event and it is likely that most will come again for an encore in the years to come. There were many beautiful hats sported by the ladies persent, and prizes were given in the tea pot competition. Kaedy Cherry was awarded the prize for the most unusual tea pot and Lydia Hubbell for the prettiest one. The room was full of a great variety of tea pots and we enjoyed seeing them all.

As good fortune has smiled on us in so many ways, our Chairman, Mary Metz has had audience with Her Majesty in past years and she wrote a very appropriate birthday greeting on behalf of HGA to let the Queen know of our event in honour of her birthday.

Mary's letter is shown on the left, and very soon after sending it, she received a very nice response from the Queen's Chief Clerk extending thanks to Houston Grampian Association for celebrating her birthday and honouring her with our tea.That letter is shown to the right.

As part of the International Sister Cities programme, our many years being twinned with Aberdeen, Scotland have enabled us to enjoy the benefits of our common educational, cultural and business interests and as one of 16 Sister City organizations in Houston, we are arguably the most active and fun-loving of all. This signature event is one to which we look forward eagerly each year, and we are thankful for all who have participated.


And so our celebration continued, With 75 attendees, and Alistair recounting many stories from the comic operas he has performed and the characters who were part of them. His monologue was equal to his musical performance and as always, he seemed to most enjoy his time with us, and we certainly did as well. Because of the level of his talent and his numerous accomplishments throughout his life, his time with us was a gift far beyond any compensation we could have offered him. Our thanks to him once again for such a noteworthy and noble performance. In the photos below are the happy faces of many of our guests as they enjoyed table time together, the scrumtious refreshments and the perfect entertainment.






2012 Celebration

In his element, indeed, was one Alistair Donkin at this event of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Tea to celebrate her birthday. In his precise and crisp British demeanor, internationally-acclaimed British actor Alistair recounted his history which led to his immeasurable accomplishments on stage and to our benefit, with Gilbert and Sullivan. To say we were entertained would be the understatement of the year, and to thank him adequately for his delightful sharing with us would be our challenge of the year. Having practiced as a solicitor, specializing in child care cases for Shropshire County Council, being at one time Mayor of Market Drayton, he made a complete career change to pursue his love of the theatre, joining the D’Oyly Carte Opera Company in 1979. To join our cebration, he took time off preparing for the presentation of IOLANTHE by the 2004 International Champion Gilbert & Sullivan Society of Houston for six performances of this audience favorite with Alistair Donkin as the stage director and star (as the The Lord Chancellor).

Alistair and his accompanist, Brandon Pafford are shown below with our Chairman, Mary Metz MBE, long time friend of Alistair's. At the time of Alistair's first visit to Houston, he was met at the airport in an appropriate stretch limo by Mary and shown to the Houston television media for the first time. He said that the champagne cork was popped and he fortunately enjoyed a bit before having a look at the most challenging itinerary Mary had assembled for him as he prepared for his first "gig" with the Houston G&S folks. Their promo banner for this year's offering of IOLANTHE is shown to the right with the joyous (or confused?) face of Alistair's character.


To begin our fifth annual celebration of the Queen's birthday with this tea in her honour, our president, John Lee offered greetings on behalf of the Houston Grampian Association and then we were honored by remarks from the Honorable Andrew Millar, British Consul General, who brought his wife Cathy and his son, Jack to celebrate with us. Our entertainment began immediately after this by Alistair Donkin, following his introduction by Mary Metz, and it was one to be remembered by the the large gathering of members and guests, resplendent with hats and appropriate attire and an offering of refreshments so tasty that we temporarily ran out during the serving time.
The tea was enjoyed and the plethora of tea pots was worthy of those who brought them and a true tribute to Her Majesty. There was, of course, a competition to identify the best of the tea pots in several categories - Prettiest, Most Unusual and Most British. Door prizes were also given and included tickets to the G&S perrformance.

With 80 attendees, our entertainment began with the introduction of Alistair Donkin and his accompanist, Brandon Pafford, after which he began his presentation to us with song and his historical recollection of his acclaimed career and his journey to the stage from the courts of England. As he sang, he moved through the entire room and sang to each of us and even took a chance on directing us in joining him for the chorus of one of his selected offerings. Not sure if we passed or not, but all laughed, sang and enjoyed the challenge he offered us. We were again joined by a number of guests, including members of the Beatrix Potter Chapter of the Daughters of the British Empire and members of the English Speaking Union. At the registration table, shown to the left, are board member and former president Ross Davidson and Mary Metz with Susan Lee.

The tea was coordinated by HGA board member Carol Decker and she is shown below with our president, John Lee and Mary Metz. In the next photo Mary is seen with Susan Howard and the Andrew Millar family, and to the right Susan and Kevin Howard with Marti McWhirter. The photo to the far right shows Lisa and Tom Gossett at the registration table with Susan Lee and Carol Decker.


Socializing and enjoying the event in a lovely room at Hotel Za Za with a scenic view, you can see our guests at tables throughout the room, taking it all in.





2011 Celebration

This year's teapot entries from l-r: Dianne Maurice, Marilyn Johnson,
Moira Holden, Jeanne Brandt (Winner) and Aurise Bain



The history of the Queen's Tea is one born of the tradition of a celebration held in England, on the second Saturday in June.  It is now also celebrated in other countries that have ties to the United Kingdom. The basic color associated with this celebration is red because that is also the color of Queen Elizabeth's flag.

This year, we held the Tea in the Ultimate Ransom Room at the Hotel Za Za in Houston. It was a lovely venue and provided an intimate setting for our gathering. Preparing for our event in the photo to the left are Rebecca Roberts and Moira Holden, arranging the silent auction items, and to the right our President, Ross Davidson addresses our guests as they enjoyed delicious finger sandwiches, sweets and of course, a variety of teas. In in remarks he recognized two of our MBEs, Stewart Bain and Kevin Howard who were present to enjoy the event.

As we've been in recent years, were were honoured to have two guests from the English Speaking Union attend the Tea and their presence is always appreciated.
They are shown below sitting left in the first photo along with Rebecca and Andrew Roberts and their guest, Jessica Potts. We had some wounded warriors this year and you'll notice in the silent auction photo that Rebecca was able to attend even with that challenge. Our Chairman, Mary Metz and our Treasurer, John Fowler were both recuperating from foot surgery and could not join us this time. As we customarily do to celebrate the Queen's birthday, we held a tea pot competition. Several attendees brought their tea pots and our judges selected the outstanding entry brought to the celebration. It was most difficult because, as you can see in the photo at the top of the page, all of the teapots were quite lovely and bore creative designs.

It seems there must have also been a competition to taste all of the lovely teas present and everyone was moving from teapot to teapot to be sure that nothing was missed. Our thanks go to Moira Holden who captured so many images on her camera which we are now able to share on the website. The webmaster especially appreciates her talent and her persistence in doing all she can to make our events and our representation of them the very best.

A most social event, we enjoyed fellowship and sharing stories from over the years about our experiences and the many things we have in common. Shown above left with our president, Ross Davidson is our highly decorated MBE, Kevin Howard, resplendent with medals on his jacket honouring Scotland, Texas and England. He proposed a toast to Her Majesty The Queen during the event, and he is shown in the middle photo below as he toasts. In the photo to the right are pictured Moira Holden, Anne Davidson and Marti McWhirter viewing the silent auction items, all generously donated by various HGA members. Below, you can see the entire array of silent auction items displayed prior to the bidding.

Aurise Bain is helping herself to the buffet items, shown in the very nice photo collage below.

Aurise outdid herself bringing ten guests to the Tea and she enjoyed it immensely. She is a past President and is shown below to the left with her husband Stewart, one of our MBEs and long time HGA member. And finally, in the center one last time, our other MBE present, Kevin Howard, is shown with his wife Susan and Ross Davidson. The photo to the right is Anne Davidson and Moira Holden. One of the greatest traditions we have established at Houston Grampian, is to enjoy each other's company and to have fellowship, one with another, and whether an event is large or small, we always do and this one was outstanding.



2010 Celebration

The Winning Teapots



You can see the prominence of the brilliant red color in the photo to the left below with the arrival of three of our guests. As they arrived, our guests entered to this registration area shown in the photo to the left. In the photo to the right are members at our top table, which include from left to right, HGA board member Carol Decker, our president Ross Davidson and Anne Davidson, HGA board member Kevin Howard, M.B.E. and Susan Howard, and finally, our organizer and hostess Rebecca Roberts. Carol Decker also participated in the organizing and hosting of this very successful event.

The origin of this observance was Queen Victoria's  (ruled from 1837 to 1901) idea.  The British have celebrated their sovereign's birthday for centuries. But, Queen Victoria wanted to make an "official" birthday celebration.   Although her birthday was really on May 24th, it was decided to celebrate it publicly in June.  Both Edward VII (1901-1910) who had a birthday in November and George V (1910-1936) who had a birthday in December and Elizabeth (1952 to present) who had a birthday in April, all agreed to continue the official birthday celebration as being held in June every year.  One of the reasons is that the weather in England was always better in June that in the actual birthday months of the sovereigns.  This just made sense!

Queen Elizabeth II has reigned over Britain and the colonies for a very long time and had her coronation on June 2, 1953 (commonly referred to as the Queen's Birthday). But it is usually observed as noted above, the 2nd Saturday in June, unless other obligations require it to be moved up or back a week. The official birthday celebration is closely identified with the Trooping of the Colours Ceremony. This takes place on Horse Guards Parade in Whitehall, an area of London where many government offices are located. It's also where Whitehall Palace, the official residence of the royal family back in the 16th and 17th centuries, once was.The Queen is escorted from her home at Buckingham Palace by her Household Cavalry to the parade grounds, where she sits on horseback and carries out an inspection of the Household Troops which are all assembled there.The flag of color of a particular regiment (a different one is chosen every year) is then "trooped" or carried through the ranks where each and every soldier can see it.  Then the troops either ride or march past the Queen.  Then the Queen returns to Buckingham Palace.  A royal salute of 41 guns in London's Green Park brings this event to its conclusion.

For our third annual celebration of Her Majesty's birthday, We enjoyed a first-class and delightful Tea in a "room with a view", at the top of the Hotel ZaZa Houston, overlooking the area which included Rice University, the Texas Medical Center, the Museum of Natural Science and the Miller Outdoor Theater, on a bright and sunny day. This view that we enjoyed is shown to the right. It was a most pleasant setting in a historic part of Houston in which we celebrated this most historic event.

Attendees were treated to lovely refreshments with an assortment of teas, finger sandwiches, fruits and pastries in a private suite, and the event was organized and hosted most capably by Rebecca Roberts. After welcoming those present, Rebecca invited us to partake in the nourishing and enjoyable refreshments, including a large variety of teas. Many attendees brought their tea pots and we had a tea pot competition to select the outstanding tea pot brought to the celebration. Several tea pots were noted as being exceptional and the winning pot(s) were lovely gold and ceramic vessels, and are shown in the photo at the top of the page and also here with the winner of the competition. Thanks to Scottish Development, we had goodie bags in the image of the Scottish flag – so appropriate for HGA.

Also included was a silent auction, and one of our guests, Anna Duterroil, brought lovely photos and newspaper articles about the coronations of the Queens over the years, plus an unbrella and flag. Anna also has created a video presentation using photos from a seven year old newspaper, turning it into a PhotoShow. For a real treat, you can click the following link, and when the site appears, if you want to see it full screen, scroll down to the bottom of the small screen and click on the empty box in the right bottom corner. It will reload to a FULL SCREEN. Click PHOTOSHOW to see the presentation complete with Pomp and Circumstance. Thank you so much Anna.

Some of our attendees were members of Houston Grampian, and in addition, we had guests from the Beatrix Potter Chapter of the Daughters of the British Empire. Shown in the first photo below, they are Linda Jesset, Sylvia Hoopes, Kay Kempken and Lesley Douthwaite. Also present was Marilyn Johnstone, a member of the Good Time Scottish Dancers. It has been our pleasure over the years to have guests also from other Scottish and British organizations and we were honoured at their presence with us. One of the highlights of this year's Tea was the announcement by our president, Ross Davidson, that our board member Kevin Howard has just received one of the Queen's Honours, being designated an MBE, or Member of the British Empire, for his excellence of service, and following the announcement, Kevin offered the Toast to Her Majesty on this occasion of the celebration of her birthday.

Below are photos of some of our attendees enjoying refreshments, talking up a storm and perusing the articles and photos of the various coronations.





2009 Celebration


Our second annual celebration of Her Majesty's birthday resulted in a glorious and very well-attended Tea in the Queen's honor. As successful as our first tea had been, we experienced a nice increase in attendance this year and a wonderful new venue. Shown to the left is HGA Board Member, Rebecca Roberts who planned and coordinated the Queen's Tea, and to the right is our Chairman, Mary Metz, making introductory remarks.

This year we held the event at Masraff's on Post Oak Lane, which is a Zagat rated, casually elegant upscale restaurant owned and operated by a Houston family of restaurateurs, Tony Masraff and his son Russell. It has become a local favorite with it's unique Euro/American cuisine and ambiance. It has American cuisine with a touch of Southern Europe, and provided wonderful hospitality to us for the event, opening early in our honor.

In addition to members of Houston Grampian, attendees included members of DBE, ESU, G&S and also Sister cities International. In fact, the president of the Tampico Sister City of Houston was with us and he is planning an event in Aberdeen soon, which we will feature on our website. He was very impressed with this event and looks forward to a relationship with HGA and the Tampico Sister Cities organization.

Shown in the photos to the left and right are attendees who were on hand for this gala celebration. Long time members Bill and Jo Geisler are in the photo to the right visiting with one of our newer members, Laura Russell.

This year for the first time we had a silent auction and our special thanks go to those who donated items for the auction. Thanks for Silent Auction prizes to Kevin Howard, of RBS, Susan Howard for BABC, Marianne Duffin, the British Isles Store, Scottish Development and to Mary Metz. The Silent Auction was a success, and special thanks have to go to Susan Howard for the BABC Gala tickets which sold at almost full price. The center photo below shows the silent auction items which were donated to us for the event.




Wonderful entertainment was provided by Alistair Donkin of the Gilbert & Sullivan Society and Alison Greene who stars as Mabel in their July, 2009 production of Pirates of Penzance. They were accompanied by Dr. William Glick of Gilbert & Sullivan. The photo to the left is our incredible entertainer, Alistair Donkin accepting the award for Best Director 2004, earned for "The Mikado". To the right is Alison Greene who blew us away entertaining us.

Once again, as last year, we were shown what our Chairman, Mary Metz, had accomplished, the letter she had written to Her Majesty on behalf of Houston/Grampian, to honor her on the occasion of her birthday, and then the letter she received back from the Queen's Private Secretary's office, acknowledging our thoughtfulness and returning our good wishes.

HGA Board Member Rebecca Roberts did a magnificent job in planning and coordinating this event, and it was successful by all measures. She is shown below in the photo to the left with Quin McWhirter, HGA Vice President and Marti McWhirter, plus Marco Bracamontes, President of the Tampico Sister Cities organization.

The change in venue was enjoyed and appreciated by all who attended. The food and tea were delightful and we will work with Masraff's to fine tune our menu next year on Jam, Black tea and scones. Many of the DBE ladies will be back – they loved it, preferred this venue and will be telling their friends. Special thanks to Louise Sprot, HGA Board Member, for her work with Masraff’s on our behalf.




2008 Celebration


For the first time, the Houston Grampian Association held High Tea in honor of Her Majesty's birthday and it will be the first annual occurrence, as it will surely be held again each year. It was a most joyous celebration and was well attended both by members of HGA and by guests from other organizations. Held at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Houston, it was properly and beautifully organized by Rebecca Roberts and she put it on the top shelf for all who attended.

Our guests were treated to spectacular entertainment by the renoun Alistair Donkin, with accompaniment by Gilbert & Sullivan Society of Houston.
He talked to us about his role in Gilbert & Sullivan productions and sang arias from several of them and provided a delightful time for those present. He moved through the audience and spoke and sang directly to our guests which made for a very personable and delightful presentation.

As a performer he has appeared with the London Savoyards and the Magic of Gilbert & Sullivan. He has sung with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, the Bournemouth Sinfonietta, the BBC Concert Orchestra (broadcast on BBC Radio 2) and the English Philharmonic Orchestra, appearing at all the major concert venues, including the Barbican Hall, the Royal Festival Hall, the Royal Albert Hall
and the new Birmingham Symphony Hall.

Alistair came to us at the request of our Chairman, Mary Metz, long an active member of Gilbert & Sullivan and noted that when Mary asks you to do something, you do it. To the left, Alistair is shown as he serenaded Mary during his presention. As guests began arriving, they were treated to a lovely room of celebration which included scrumptious treats including finger sandwiches, scones, sweets and, of course a variety of teas to enjoy.

Many of our lady guests wore hats, so typical of the attire at High Tea in England, and they all looked radiant and gave our party a real feel of the celebration of Her Majesty's birthday.

Early to arrive were the "Three Amigos", Rebecca Roberts, Moira Holden and Marianne Duffin who set about to put the decorations for the room in place and to give our venue the true feeling of being in Britain at High Tea and truly honoring Her Majesty at this time of annual celebration. They are shown on the left with smiles that set the mood for the day. Marti McWhirter and Marianne are shown to the right assembling the flag displays that were placed on each table.

Shown below, before they were heartily attacked by our guests, are the tables with door prizes and all of the goodies that awaited us to enjoy following the entertainment. In the center is a typical table with the display of flags to give each one just the right touch.

And our Chairman, Mary Metz, continues to be the gift that keeps on giving and surprised us following the entertainment, by showing us the letter she had written to Her Majesty on behalf of Houston/Grampian, to honor her on the occasion of her birthday, and then showing us the letter she received back from David Ryan, Director of the Queen's Private Secretary's office, acknowledging our thoughtfulness and returning our good wishes. The letters are shown below and were truly a pleasant surprise to all of us.



June 0, 2008


Her Majesty The Queen
Buckingham Palace
SW1A 1AA United Kingdom


May it please your Majesty, The Houston Grampian Association present compliments to Your Majesty and send Loyal Greetings on the occasion of Your Birthday in honour of which the Association is holding an Official Tea on Saturday the Twenty First of June 2008.

The Houston Grampian Association fosters links between Aberdeen Scotland and the City of Houston, Texas and is founded on the mutual cultural, educational and social interests of the two cities.

We earnestly wish Your Majesty may continue to enjoy good health and happiness in the years to come.



Houston, Texas 77077 U.S.A.


Website ~ http://houstongrampian.com



                13th June, 2008


Dear Ms. Metz,

     I have been asked to thank you and the Members of the Houston Grampian Association for your kind letter containing loyal greetings to The Queen, sent on the occasion of your Official Tea to celebrate Her Majesty's Birthday which is being held on 21st June.

     Her Majesty much appreciates your thoughtfulness in writing as you did and, in return, sends her warm, good wishes to all concerned for a most memorable and enjoyable day.


Yours sincerely,

David Ryan
Director, Private Secretary's Office


Ms. Mary Murray Metz, MBE

Following this surprise of the day, our attendees socialized and laughed and just had fun in honor of Her Majesty and in the moment of being together in such regal fashion. Pictured below are some of those present, including the Howards, some elegant ladies in their hats and some of our table guests. These include, among others, Sylvia Hoopes and her granddaughter, to whom Alistair directed many of his remarks and his most enjoyable arias.


Without a doubt, this delightful event shall become an annual affair and so this has been designated to be the first annual HGA Tea for Her Majesty's Birthday. We welcome those who came and look forward to even more joining us in the years to come.


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