CIREN has always had strong affinities and connections with the Royal Family.

There are many records of Royal visits to the town and the archives contain many hundreds of photographs.

The name has changed, but the establishment up the Tetbury road retains the word “Royal” in its name. Now called the Royal Agricultural University, it continues to be known by most old Ciren folk by its old name: the Royal Agricultural College.

Across the way from the College/University, Cirencester park has been used by many Royals over the years, especially the Polo grounds where Prince Charles has played many matches.

He was injured at one match in 1990 and had to be treated at Cirencester Hospital.

His father, Prince Philip was also a polo player but I’m not sure if he played up the Park.

I wouldn’t have known if did; until more recently, Polo wasn’t really a sport that many ordinary Ciren people followed.

Prince Philip actually gave up playing polo in 1970 but in 1973 took up four-in-hand carriage driving in its place.

In July of that year, he was at the Park competing in a carriage driving competition.

There’s no record of him winning.

The Queen (and Prince Philip) have visited Ciren several times since the Coronation in 1953.

I remember some of her later visits: lining up in the market place to wave flags that mysteriously appeared in our hands from somewhere.

Raising our Lewis Lane School boy’s caps on command of our teacher as the big black Daimler drove by on route to somewhere beyond our comprehension.

I imaged it to be the mysterious mansion hidden from view behind the giant Yew hedge in Park Street.

Few had been there or even seen what it looked like from the outside.

Rumour had it that one of the Jefferies girls had been invited there for tea and had eaten cake served on golden plates.