EDITORS NOTE - In May 2023, we published an article here on our ExPo website entitled, “Rubbing Shoulders with Royalty” after receiving an excellent account from former P.C. Graham Maddocks who served here in the Bermuda Police from 1970-1978 during which time he had several encounters with members of the Royal family. I also happened to have had personal contacts with HRH Prince Charles (now King Charles 111) and Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth and HRH Prince Phillip, and added my recollections to the “Rubbing Shoulders” article. CLICK HERE to view the article.
An invitation was extended to any other colleagues who had any dealings with members of the Royal family to write and let us know the details.
We heard almost immediately from our good friend Ray Sousa, who now lives in Australia who recounted an incident he was involved with at Government House just prior to the arrival of HRH Prince Charles for his 1970 visit, and we added Ray’s comments to the “Rubbing Shoulders” article.
We have now heard from our good friend, retired Chief Inspector Roger Kendall, about his encounters with members of the Royal family which are so numerous that it was felt necessary to publish this separate article about Roger’s multiple contacts with Royalty. You can also CLICK HERE to view our “Then and Now” article about Roger’s fascinating reminiscences, from his childhood through his 30 year Police career in Bermuda, and his life after retirement from the Bermuda Police Service.
In the 1960s, I was one of a number of Police Cadets with the Leicestershire and Rutland Constabulary who took part in the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme. I completed all three levels: Bronze, Silver and Gold, which resulted in me receiving my awards for the first two. However, unfortunately my records for the Gold Award were lost in a fire at the County Council offices. This necessitated obtaining verification for all the different levels I undertook before they would actually grant me my Gold Award.
This process took way longer than I expected, as I eventually became a Constable in England and then moved here as a Constable in Bermuda. Long story short, I finally received the necessary verification (some 9 years later) that I indeed qualified for the Gold Award. The Award team in England asked if I was willing to come to Buckingham Palace on my next trip back to England, of course, I said yes. In 1975, my wife and I went to the Buckingham Palace where I finally received my Gold Award presented by His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh, it was well worth the long wait.
In 1973, I was the driver for Prince Charles on his four-day (very low key) visit to Bermuda, whilst he was aboard HMS Minerva. During one drive, we took him on a tour of the South Shore beaches, where he ordered his U.K. Protection Officer and the Bermuda Special Branch Officer to remain in the car while he strolled along the beaches by himself. Very nervously, both officers tried to observe him with binoculars as he chatted up the folks on the beach. Thank goodness most of those on the beach had no idea who he was. His Royal Highness later gave me a nice autographed photograph in appreciation for my services during this short visit to Bermuda.
In 1974, I was summoned yet again to Special Branch at Headquarters, where I met Superintendent Andy Birmingham. He gave me the keys to the Commissioners Humber Hawk car and told me to gas it up, wash and polish it and return back to Headquarters.
I was then asked if I had a decent suit, and upon answering “Yes” I was told to then go home pack a bag for a few days and report back to him, where I would be told what it was all about (try and explain that to your new wife?). Upon returning, I was told to report to the Special Branch Officers at the old Sonesta Beach Hotel, where I would be acting as the chauffer/bodyguard/interpreter for the President Kenyatta party from Kenya that were staying there. You might recall from previous posts that I spoke Swahili from my earlier days in Africa.
One day during the visit, I was travelling up in an elevator in the hotel with the VIPs who were talking in Swahili when the President’s wife said to her colleagues that she thought I understood what they were talking about, (which of course I did). She then turned to me and said she thought she had recognized me, but couldn’t remember where from. I then had to explain that I had previously lived in Kenya in the ‘60s and I was present as a schoolboy at the stadium for the ‘Uhuru’ Independence celebrations. Can you believe, that is where she had recognized me from!
In 1975 I received specialization training from the Special Air Services (SAS) at a Royal Protection Chauffer Course held on the of the Annex of the U.S. Naval Operations Base (NOB) in Southampton, in order to qualify as a chauffeur during any future upcoming Royal Visits.
The above was a Royal Gazette photograph taken when I collected the Rolls Royce from the docks (along with Constable Steve Peterson). This vehicle was to be used in the 1975 Royal visit. I had to deliver the Rolls to and from Government House and the Police Operations at Prospect when it was not being used and then finally take it back to the docks at the end of the visit.
Photos of the Governor’s Daimler at Government House and the loaned Rolls Royce garaged at Prospect, both vehicles I used as chauffer to the Royal visitors.
I was the relief chauffeur for the Royal party during this Royal visit as Bruce Bingley was the GH Chauffer. My first duty was to pick up HRH the Duke of Edinburgh from the Saltus Grammar school field where he landed by helicopter from a visit to Nonsuch island. I only had a Special Branch officer with me when I drove in, but when I collected HRH, I was joined in the car by his private secretary and the Royal protection officer.
The current Saltus school car park was not there back then and we had to drive directly on to and off the school field from Woodlands Road. Getting on to the field was no problem, however, with now five of us sat in the long wheelbase Daimler, when leaving the field, the car bottomed out when trying to drive back on to the road. Three of the passengers had to get out to lighten the load, before we could continue on our journey back to Government Hours - talk about embarrassing.
Roger driving HRH Prince Phillip from Saltus Field
I also had the privilege of driving HM the Queen and HRH the Duke of Edinburgh in the Rolls Royce, on one of their short trips into the city of Hamilton something I will always remember.
In 1994, I was the Headquarters Staff officer to the Commissioner. He tasked me in working with the Cabinet Office and a member of the Royal advanced party in establishing a programme for the upcoming Royal visit that year.
This necessitated selecting various suitable venues, the sequence of each, the routes to and from these different locations and accurate timings of each journey, together with time spent at each one. All of this information was later used to produce the official Royal visit programme. I was later part of the official escort team during this visit as shown in the photograph below
The Royal Escort at Government House in 1994
At the conclusion of this visit, I was surprised to be summoned back to Government House, where I was scheduled to have a personal investiture audience with the Royal party.
HM the Queen and HRH the Duke of Edinburgh met me in a private room at Government House where they stated they had heard that I was responsible for making this Royal visit such a success and they were most appreciative of my diligent duties in this regard.
They then presented me in a green leather frame, with an autographed photograph of both of them, something I now proudly display in my home, alongside the previous one presented to me by Prince Charles.
In 2011, now a civilian after my retirement in 2001 from the Bermuda Police Service, I was employed as the Head of Security for an American Company, XL Insurance/Re Insurance in Hamilton.
HRH Princess Royal (formally Princess Anne), came to O’Hara House in her role as President of the Caribbean - Canada Emerging Leaders Dialogue. This was for a financial briefing and key speeches from the island’s International Business community and Regulators.
As the Head of Security, I had to greet and escort her Royal Highness throughout this special event. I also had to assist the armed plain clothed members of the Emergency Response Team who were inside the building protecting this Royal visitor.
Another task I had to ensure was that my Security Guards lowered the Union Jack flag in the front of O’Hara House and the Royal Standard was raised whilst HRH was in attendance.
In 2014, I once again received an Invitation to Buckingham Palace. This time, as the Chairman of the Bermuda Red Cross, together with the BRC Executive Director Anne Spencer-Arscott.
This was in celebration of the 150 Anniversary of the British Red Cross movement. The Bermuda Red Cross, like many other Red Cross Overseas Branches from throughout the world were also in attendance, with their Board Chairs and Executive Directors.
We were hosted by HRH Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales, who is the President of the British Red Cross Society and he was joined by Princess Alexandra, the Society’s Deputy President.
The garden Party was held in the rear grounds of the Palace with its fantastic gardens and lakes, both of which we had full access to enjoy. During this very memorable pomp and ceremonial event, we were also entertained by various military bands under wonderful sunshine.
“I have been both privileged and honoured to serve so many members of the Royal Family and other Dignitaries over the years and as a consequence I now have many photographs and memories to share with others.
"The members of the Royal Family have a unique knack of making everyone feel comfortable when they meet with members of the public. Each and every interaction I had with them was both so welcoming and cordial, therefore one was able to feel relaxed when both meeting and talking with each one of them.”