The Queen’s ‘telegram’ arrives, and 100th birthday party.

Do not regret growing older, it is a privilege denied to many.”

Saturday was the day before my MiL’s 100th birthday, and in the morning there was great excitement, as the postman was due to deliver the 100th birthday congratulations card from the Queen. I was waiting at the bedroom window, to snap him as he came down the drive.


None of us had ever seen one before, so of course we couldn’t have breakfast until it was opened.


Family soon started to arrive, as we were all to have lunch at  ‘The Barn @ Alfold’, in the next village. This restaurant is one of my MiL’s favourite places for eating out.

This historic  building dates back to 1590. and the original oak beams are believed to have been fashioned from timber taken from the ships of the Spanish Armada. Ernest Hemingway frequented this establishment in the 1940′s, during the second world war, and is said to have spent many an afternoon enjoying the ‘cream teas’ at ‘Gibbs Hatch’ as it was then called. The party started off in the bar, where we all had a few glasses of excellent French champagne.


The main dining room was filled to capacity with many members of our family.


The food and service were absolutely wonderful, and the lady of the moment was looking absolutely sparkling. Here she is with her eldest granddaughter.


Sunday was the day of her actual birthday  and she looked really stunning for her big party for 140 people at the local Village Hall.


We all had a great time, with lots of chatter and tasty tidbits to munch on.


It was wonderful to meet up again with family, some of whom we hadn’t seen for many years, and also absolutely amazing to see just how many really good friends had come along to congratulate her on this awesome milestone achievement.


She gave a marvellous and very interesting speech, followed by very complimentary ones from my husband and also our son and daughter.


Then it was time to cut the cake and propose a toast.


What a lot of fun we all had, with beautiful weather so that the little children were able to play outside on the grass and jungle-gym.  At the end of the proceedings, our two youngest grandchildren just couldn’t wait to get their hands on some of the balloons.


My dear mom-in-law gave away a few of her secrets for longevity. She said, “Try not to worry, but take each day as it comes, and have a glass of red wine and a couple of chocolates every evening.”  So now I’m thinking to myself, “If this is what 100-years-old looks like, with life still being full of happiness and fun, I’ll not be afraid of old age, but be looking forward to it. ” 🙂

154 comments on “The Queen’s ‘telegram’ arrives, and 100th birthday party.

  1. Wow, I have missed this … post! What a stunning letter – remember when her mother got one on her birthday and the man that brought it her, I know … Such a love touch. What a party … !!!!! Thanks for the link.

  2. I have not had much time to spend on the blogs of late but just had to go back and catch up with your posts on your mother-in-law’s centenary. What an absolutely inspirational lady. She could many decades younger to shame with your lovely English Rose complexion and cheerful smile. Not many centenarians are able to stand up and make a speech at their party. So glad so many of the family were able to attend and celebrate the historic occasion with her. I will take her advice regarding the nightly chocolate and red wine to heart 🙂 Thanks for sharing these pics AD, I really enjoyed looking at them.

    • Thanks, optie. I’m so glad you saw this particular post. We are all really proud of her. 🙂 She’s taking us on a week’s Rhine River Cruise this weekend, and is looking forward to doing all the tours on offer. She’s amazing. 🙂

  3. How wonderful, and I agree with you, seeing this I am looking forward to my 100th birthday! What a great celebration! What a great family!

  4. An absolutely marvellous occasion, and one she obviously enjoyed as much as anyone! How super that she is still that sprightly. So many people decades short of her age spend most of their time sitting and dribbling.
    I do love her evening recipe!

  5. How wonderful and so happy about the card from the Queen. That’s so cool. Looks like a wonderful celebration and she’s a beautiful woman. And I’ll take her advice: wine and chocolate.

  6. How wonderful to have such a lovely lady still with you! Fabulous! And making a great speach as well. If old age would be like that – I would not be afraid of getting older either!

  7. Omigod! She looks so strong and lively still. I’m at awe. Because, YOU ALL look strong and lively as if you all will have the same spirit and energy. The eldest grand daughter looks so young as well!

  8. She looks stunning indeed! And hardly her age! That special card must have completed an already special celebration. Wishing her many more 🙂

  9. Lovely, AD. Congratulations to your MiL! She looks as fit as a fiddle and one would never guess her age. Lovely bone structure too!

  10. Oh the Queen’s comment is so wonderful! The card is beautiful! So thoughtful. Your mother is beautiful and without doubt the most beautiful 100 yo I have EVER seen! Happy days!

  11. A card from the Queen to your MIL, another queen, is very special indeed. Wishing her the best, she looks beautiful.


  12. Everyone must have been very excited to see the card! It looks as though your MIL had two wonderful occasions to celebrate such a fabulous day…Happy Birthday!

  13. That was so sweet of the Queen indeed AD. Your MiL is such a gorgeous lady and she has the right attitude for sure. Thanks for sharing this lovely event and the gorgeous shots hon. Have fun and enjoy! 😀 *hugs*

    • Thanks so much, Sonel. I’m sure the whole family will remember the weekend’s celebrations, for ever. It was all so special and my dear MiL had a fabulous birthday. 🙂

  14. Wow – I had never heard of the telegram from the Queen thing before, and just googled it – that is so cool!! Looks like a lovely day with your family too – that buffet is making my mouth water!

  15. It made me happy just looking at your photos and reading your story. What a wonderful time. Happy birthday to your MIL and more blessings upon her. 🙂

  16. Oh, I just have to tell you what a great tradition this is for your country. The queen sending a tell a gram…how precious is that!! A treasure for sure to be passed on down the ages!! May she be blessed with many more years of good health.

    • Thanks so much for your lovely comment and good wishes, Laurie. The card will certainly be treasured. She is the longest living person in our family. 🙂

  17. I love the card from Aunt Betty. 🙂 It is the first time I have ever seen one. Congrats on all the celebrations and special times.

  18. What a Grand Lady she is AD in all sense of the words. A truly memorable occasion . She looks utterley composed and has such a twinkle in her eye … bet that’s given her the edge in lots of situations over the years 😉
    Enjoy the rest of your travels ….

  19. What a beautiful lady a real inspiration to see a life well lived and I’m sure the closeness of all the family helped to create such a happy occasion

  20. What a lovely post Sylvia, your mom-in-law is fantastic and looks wonderful! Congratulations to her and many more. It certainly looks like a wonderful time was had by all.

    take care and regards

  21. What can one add to all the marvelous comment you already have..??.. 1/. MiL still looks so young for someone who has turned 100, and I’m so pleased to see the telegram from the Queen, My Gran passed when she was 99 just one year too early… What lovely celebrations… and pass on my best wishes from sunny South Africa to her and may she have a wonderful trip with you on board the ship…
    I love her advice, I knew I had chocolate every evening for a reason…
    Have a wonderful time and hope we catch up soon…

    • Thanks so much, bulldog.She’s so excited about the cruise, as we all are.. Last night she shared some of her birthday chocolates with me….Belgian of course. 🙂

  22. I’ll add another “wow” along with more best wishes piled on for that amazing MIL… may we all age as gracefully. What an inspiration indeed!

  23. So exciting. What a wonderful day for her. She looks stunningly beautiful. 🙂 I’d better go have some chocolates. I still have almost 40 years to go. 🙂

  24. My grandmother always used to talk about the telegram from the Queen. Sadly she didn’t make it to 100 but your post brought back fond memories for me. I often wondered if it really happened and I’m so glad to hear that she really does send it! What a wonderful woman your MIL sounds. Happy Birthday wishes from me!

  25. happy 100th birthday to MIL. this post is really fun to read and thanks for sharing the card from the’s the first time i’ve seen one.. MIL looks really stunning and young for her age.. Cheers!

  26. What a sweet and wonderful post ! She does not look 100! May we all live to be so gracious!

  27. How charming and beautiful MiL is. What a fantastic event to celebrate and so much family showing up. This is amazing, ad. God bless her young soul.

  28. I was looking forward to this post to see the letter from the queen. I wasn’t disappointed. What a wonderful occasion and well documented….you and Hubby(?) with cameras in hand. Your MIL looks lovely. I bet she was exhausted the next day.

    • Thanks, Lynne. No, that’s my son-in-law next to me. Hubby was taking this photo. 🙂 She didn’t go to bed last night until midnight and today, she’s been as lively as ever, chatting excitedly about the cruise we’re all going on in a couple of week’s time. With my help, she also opened and read out another 70 birthday cards which she was given at the party.

  29. She looks amazing and what wonderful advice she gives. Age is a gift not something we should be afraid of…it means we are still around.

  30. This is so amazing, Sylvia – it made me teary! What a fantastic woman and I absolutely LOVE the Queen’s telegram (I haven’t seen one before either). Red wine and chocolate, now that’s my idea of a great recipe for longevity and happiness 😀

  31. How thrilling! Congratulations to your mom in law. She is a beautiful woman and is amazing in so many ways for 100 years. What an inspiration! Wishing her much love good health and happiness. Enjoy xxxx

    • I’m afraid not, as we didn’t have any at home. He was soon on his way, after wishing her a very happy birthday. No drinking on the job. 😀

  32. Quite a memorable occasion AD!!
    Hope MiL had a splendid day and may the rest of her days be as blessed as the previous few thousand seems to have been!

  33. Fabullous, Sylvia! I’ve never seen one so I was very impressed with the look of the telegram. Happy I’ve still got a while to go, but your ma-in-law is phenomenal. 🙂
    The old pub looked superb too. Hemingway indeed. You guys know how to do it in style. Too late to wish her a long and happy life, but I hope that the future is kind to her. My Dad hasn’t a worry bone in his body, and I’m sure that’s a large part of the secret. I haven’t inherited it.
    I was so looking forward to this post. Enjoy the rest of your stay. (sorry about the weather 🙂 )

  34. She is just an absolutely amazing woman! I will try to follow her advice for living…the chocolate should not be a problem for me…it looks like it was such a wonderful time for all and a card from the QUEEN! SO WONDERFUL!!

  35. Absolutely ruddy marvelous! And the card, too! Not many folk can claim they have one of those, now can they.?
    Well done ‘Mum’, If I may take such a liberty. An innings to raise one’s glass to.

  36. She looks incredible. Wouldn’t take her for more than 80 if that. What a star!

    Same date as one of my uni mates, meant to send him a mail and forgot 😦 your post has just reminded me.

    Looks like a fantastic time had by all. Hope she has many happy returns.

    • Thanks so much. She certainly is a star of note, and spent the three hours of her party chatting to everybody who came. She had no time to eat anything, and only had two sips of champagne. he then came home and entertained about fourteen of the family who came back to the house, including 3 boisterous kids. 🙂 She never goes to bed until after midnight. It’s hard to keep up. 🙂

  37. I do not know if appropriate, since I do not know the customs of you, but here I wish to your mother Happy birthday !- And I hope you do not mind , we’re still friends
    for your 100 is your day and all bombarded with some nice gifts and warm words for happiness and success in life …. because this brief note I wish you all the best for a birthday, to be happy and cheerful in the next 100 years.and only health !

  38. Getting The Card seems such a glorious old tradition – especially when you think the Queen’s own Mum was eligible too, only a little while ago, and her own handwriting’s looking a little wobbly these days! It’s terrific MIL had so much family around her, and so many old friends still! It was so sad to see so many of Mum and Dad’s contemporaries falling by the wayside that by the time they died (Papa 98, Ma only 95 🙂 ), there were almost no old friends to say goodbye. Bless her – it’s a great achievement to be still enjoying her life and independence so much. 🙂

    • Yes, it’s certainly a wonderful tradition, Meredith. I was amazed at how many friends she has here in the village, but it’s because she belongs to many local clubs, and attends almost every social gathering which comes along. What an inspiration she is.

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