Current mileage: 169,182
Brucie on Parade!
I had owned Brucie for 3 years when, in December 2013, I finally plucked up the courage to phone his first owner.
Having contacted former owners of my Jaguars in the past, I was apprehensive as my enquiry was usually met with scepticism and the assumption that I was either a mad woman or something had gone wrong with the car for which I wanted to blame the former owner ….. the first may be true of me, but certainly not the latter!
As any true car enthusiast will understand, my reason for wanting to get in touch was merely to establish the history of my car.
The tentative phone call I made went very well indeed! Andrew Panter, who had purchased a brand new Jaguar X300 LWB 4.0 Sovereign from Henlys of Hendon in March 1997 remembered the car well, and with very fond memories. We had the first of many interesting conversations recounting Brucie’s history, and Andrew who is a key member of the Prince Philip Trust and had been instrumental in organising a handful of highly prestigious events at Windsor Castle for Rolls Royce, Bentley, Aston Martin and MG, mentioned the suggestion that he would like do a similar event for Jaguar and he asked me if I knew who he should contact in order to do this! A fortuitous comment indeed, as I was on the Jaguar Enthusiasts’ Club Events Committee and through Xclusively Jaguar I also had connections with Jaguar Heritage.
In the intervening period following this initial suggestion, Rob Jenner, the then Chairman of the Jaguar Enthusiasts’ Club, became my partner and during a visit to Andrew Panter’s house the foundations for the event were laid. Brucie’s Diary: March 2015
An event such as this, which involves the consent of the Royal Household takes a great deal of time to organise, and eventually the date was set for the weekend of 5th/6th May 2017 with the consent of Her Majesty The Queen.
For my connection with the origins of the event, I was asked by JEC Events Chairman, Ray Searles, if I would like to choose the cars for the Parade. My reply was ‘Yes, of course, but no matter how rare or valuable the other Jaguars, there is one car that MUST be in the parade, and that is Brucie, as without him the parade would never have come about.’ Ray agreed that this should be the case, and as I knew from previous experience that selecting the cars for the parade would be a mammoth task, I then asked Rob Jenner to help me with this, as I am notoriously indecisive and would have wanted all 1600 applicants to be included! Between us, Rob and I had to make some pretty tough decisions and our deliberations took us into the small hours over many nights!
The Jaguar Enthusiasts’ Club staff and committee members all worked very hard over long a period of time to put all aspects of the event together.
|Finally though, we got there and on Thursday morning 5 fellow members of the Edinburgh JEC Region convened at our house for a sustaining breakfast, all cooked by Rob Jenner …………|
|……… before we left in convoy in our four Jaguars, (an XJ40 Sovereign Majestic, an XJS Le Mans, an XKR Convertible and Brucie) all destined for Windsor, to take part in the parade.|
|Brucie’s Diary: April 2017 relates the story of Brucie’s very recent ‘restoration’ in readiness for the parade, but Brucie was not the only car in our small convoy fresh from restoration!|
Along with other JEC officials and volunteers, we spent Friday setting up on the Long Walk, but Rob and myself had just 30 minutes for a quick shower and change before leaving for the Castle, where we were stationed at Advance Gate with the armed guards, to check everyone in to the Champagne Reception. By this time, I was feeling very unwell, so my apologies to everyone for not being very helpful as I was sitting in the guards hut while Rob took the brunt of the responsibility for checking you all in. We made a very special friend in Jason, head of the Metropolitan Police, Royalty and Specialist Protection team who gave Rob the responsibility of deciding who could go into Windsor Castle for the champagne reception and making it clear that if ticket holders had all their documents they would be allowed through, but if Jason’s team were not happy with anything, they would defer to Rob, and if he let them in and anything in the Castle kicked off, it would be on his head! Not much of a responsibility then, RJ?
When everyone was in, Jason ordered a car to take Rob and I up to the Castle (the other 648 guests had been expected to walk!) and Rob was the only person allowed to keep his phone, so that he could be easily contacted by Jason in the event of a problem!
Everything was done with military precision, and at 18.51 Rob Jenner and I were told we would be presented to Prince Edward in the Lamp Room, along with several dignitories from the Prince Philip Trust, Windsor Rotary, Andrew and Tui Panter (Brucie’s first owners), Dr and Mrs Ralph Speth (Jaguar CEO), Tim Hannig and partner (Jaguar Classic CEO), Jamie and Ann-Marie Ryan (Managing Director, Millers Oils), Julian and Zana-May Barratt (Managing Director, SNG Barratt), Peter and Angie Purdom (Current JEC Chairman), Graham and Lyn Searle (JEC General Manager) and Ray and Kay Searles (JEC Events Chairman).
Later that evening, in his speech, His Royal Highness Prince Edward referred to his earlier conversation with Rob Jenner regarding choosing cars for the parade, and saying that he had met a man from Coventry who said he had made 250 new friends (those chosen for the parade) and nearly 1600 enemies (those who were rejected)!
Following on from this, Prince Philip Trust Committee member and first owner of Brucie, Andrew Panter, in his speech made reference to Brucie, saying that this event was all down to an unexpected phone call he had received in 2013 from a lady who owned his old Jaguar, the lady in question was Letitia Mace, and the car was Brucie. Without them, none of this would have come about, and Brucie would be in the Jaguar Parade tomorrow!
After the Champagne Reception, Rob and I walked across to The Castle Hotel where we were joint hosts of one of the buffets, along with Ray and Kay Searles, and finally returning to The Devere Beaumont Hotel where we were staying, we met up with other Jaguar Enthusiasts’ who were still enjoying the other buffet, which was laid on to take the excess of applicants for the initially proposed evening buffet at the Castle Hotel!
Saturday morning we were up at 5am, ready to marshall the parade cars into Frogmore when it was agreed by the Royal Household that the gates would be opened at 7am. As we entered Frogmore, our cars were checked by sniffer dogs and the underside was checked with mirrors, and then searched, before we were issued with a security sticker for the car, an armband for ourselves and only then were we allowed to proceed. I had expected this to be brutal and impersonal like airport security, however, I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was sympathetic and discreet – airport security, take note: it can be done!
We marshalled 250 cars into Frogmore, with space being at a premium, and with only a few grumbles from people who clearly did not understand how privileged they were to even be there!
As far as we are aware, apart from the Royal household Jaguars and Daimlers, past and present, there are only 250 Jaguars worldwide who have ever been into the grounds of Windsor Castle, and those are the ones you will see in various links relating to the parade which are now all over the internet. I am very proud to say that circa 240 of those cars were chosen by Rob Jenner and myself, and Brucie is one of those Jaguars!
At 10.50 am XJ13, aptly driven by Michael Quinn (Sir William Lyons Grandson) with JEC General Manager Graham Searle as passenger, started off the parade, followed by the remaining 249 Swallow, SS, Jaguar and Daimler cars ….. Brucie was number 174 in the parade.
The route began at Frogmore Cricket Ground where the cars had been parked up earlier that morning, and the general public had not been allowed in, so this was their first opportunity to see what was on offer. We were metered out at 15 second intervals by Vince Franklin and as we passed up the Long Walk to the Castle gates we were squeezed between crowds of onlookers, all eagerly taking pictures and videos of the cars – it was an astonishing experience and probably for most of us, the legendary 15 minutes of fame, as the event made the news headlines that evening!
Turning left at the top of the Long Walk, guided by James Blackwell (JEC Assistant Manager), we proceeded along a cobbled street and into Windsor High Street, where Rob Jenner (Director, Jaguar Enthusiasts’ Club) and Tony O’keeffe (Jaguar Owner Relations, Jaguar Land Rover Classic) provided an amusing and informative running commentary worthy of any TV comedy double act, on every car in the parade!
At the end of the High Street Andy Webber (JEC Events Committee and South Wales Region member) directed us up through Advance Gate, and following a brief security check, into the grounds of Windsor Castle. As Brucie and I passed through the archway into The Quadrangle, it was 12 noon. Most cars were full to capacity, but this moment was for Brucie and I and I did not want to be distracted by passengers, so we travelled alone. For us, the important people were seated at the head of The Quadrangle with Prince Edward and the other dignataries, and were of course, Andrew and Tui Panter, Brucie’s first owners who were waiting eagerly to see him as he passed by on his short journey through The Quadrangle and out into The Queens private grounds.
Among the dignataries in The Quadrangle the first people I noticed waving to me were Jamie and Ann-Marie Ryan of Millers Oils, then Prince Edward waved and I was unsure of what protocol dictated but thought ‘To hell with it, I’m gonna wave back!’ – I was then aware of Angie Purdom saying excitedly ‘Ooh, it’s Letitia!’ and Dr Ralph Speth (Jaguar Land Rover CEO) was seated beside her. Then it was time to turn right, directly below The Queens private sitting room, along the south side of The Quadrangle and out through another archway into The Queens private grounds and back to Frogmore Cricket Ground where those marshals, whose early cars had already returned, were able to park us up for the remainder of the day.
After the return of all of the parade cars, Prince Edward arrived at Frogmore Cricket Ground to plant 3 trees, along with Dr Ralph Speth (Jaguar Land Rover CEO) and Peter Purdom (current JEC Chairman). Prince Edward was accompanied by several dignataries, including Andrew Panter. As soon as Andrew was free, I invited him to come and see Brucie, and he eagerly accepted. I was gratified by this, and the compliments paid by Andrew regarding his old car! Actions always speak louder than words, and Andrew’s response to seeing Brucie was to insist that his wife, Tui, must also come and see Brucie, and later that day, Andrew returned again to see Brucie, this time bringing his daughter and grandson with him! We spent time chatting and lots of photos were taken by myself, Andrew’s family and other participants in the parade! Before the day was over, Andrew returned once more, this time with another of the Royal Dignitaries, to introduce him to Brucie!
Again, I wonder if those in the parade realise how privileged they were, as the general public were kept waiting outside the gates to Frogmore Cricket Ground and were not allowed in until Prince Edward had left and Jason had given the word to go ahead and open the gates and allow everyone to come in and view the parade cars.
Most of the media relating to this event concentrates on the cars in the Long Walk! Access to the parade cars in Frogmore was limited and allowed by production of a brochure only.
At the end of the day Jason said that we were exceedingly privileged to have been allowed the access we had been given into the grounds and through Frogmore gate, and according to him it was unprecedented and he was astonished! We were allowed to have Frogmore Gate open for one hour so that all the parade cars could exit the grounds. Jason, in his Land Rover, escorted all of the cars out of the grounds in batches. Rob Jenner appointed two marshals that he knew he could rely on to assist in this, and those marshals were Colin Manconi and myself, which gave me the opportunity to wave every single parade entrant goodbye as they left. Having been instrumental in their being there, this was a real bonus, and I hope everyone enjoyed themselves as much as I did.
Thankyou to everyone who accepted our invitation to join the parade, and who arrived on time on the day and did as they were requested in order to make the day the success that it was!
As the final batch of parade entrants (which included most of the marshals) were escorted out through the grounds of Windsor Castle and through Frogmore Gate, Jason picked me up from my post along the route and gave me a guided tour of Windsor Park – he pointed out Frogmore House (former home of Her Majesty, The Queen Mother, now used by the Queen for various events); a mansion which houses flats for the staff; the grounds where The Queen likes to walk her dogs; where The Queen likes to ride her horses; the Royal Collections; the Royal Dairies and finally, the gatehouse at Frogmore Gate. As we turned around to return to Frogmore Cricket Ground where the parade cars had been parked, Jason pointed out that Frogmore Gate is only ever opened to let the Queen enter or leave Windsor, it is her private entrance to Windsor and this, he said, as we drove back along the private road to from Frogmore Gate towards the castle, is the view of Windsor that the Queen sees every time she enters or leaves Windsor Castle!
By this time everyone had left, except for the JEC officials and volunteers who were clearing up. Rob had just driven the “Shaguar” back to the Jaguar stand and returned to Frogmore when Jason dropped me off beside Brucie and Rob said “You’ll be the last one out of Frogmore then, which is very appropriate since it was Brucie that initiated the entire event!”
Rob and I have already thanked Jason personally, but here I would like to formally thank Jason and his colleagues for working with our marshals – together, we all agreed, we made a great team!
The final event to round everything up was held at Royal Windsor Racecourse. Dinner was followed by an auction in aid of The Prince Philip Trust, with some interesting lots kindly donated by various people including SNG Barratt and Jaguar Cars.
The last item to be auctioned that evening was a full colour drawing of the winners Jaguar (or a car of their choice) by up-and-coming artist, Esta-Jane Middling, examples of whose work can be seen HERE
The lucky winner was Nick Shrosbee who bid £360 and whose SS was in the parade that day!
As a consequence of this, Jamie Ryan (Managing Director of Millers Oils) has commissioned a picture of the Millers Oil vintage van!
The following morning, breakfast didn’t take long, but saying goodbye to everyone at The Devere Beaumont took over an hour!
On the way home, Brucie passed the landmark 170,000 miles on the M6 going through the Lake District on his way home to Scotland!
See also – Royal Windsor Jaguar Festival: Your View!