A freak storm saw the Queen seek shelter in a humble inn, where the chance encounter saw the pub owners scrambling to make a meal fit for Her Majesty.
The Queen, who ascended the throne in 1952, was hailed for her poise and grace throughout her long life. But sometimes, even she had to put aside the glitz and glamour of royal life. A freak storm in the winter of 1981 forced the monarch to spend the night in a public B&B and eat at the attached pub, a world away from her usual life of luxury.
The Queen was on her way back to Windsor Castle after visiting her daughter, Princess Anne, when a sudden blizzard caught her convoy off guard.
Massive snowdrifts from the freak storm meant travel was impossible and the Queen had to stay at the Cross Hands Hotel in Old Sodbury, Gloucestershire.
The attached watering hole was then owned by 42-year-old Roberto Cadei, who laid on some pub grub for the monarch as she waited for her team to clear the snow.
The landlord recalled serving Her Majesty in the recent Channel 5 documentary ‘Secrets of the Royal Palaces’.
He told the programme: “We served her tea and then later on she called and said she wanted an evening meal.
“So, I had to take the order, go down to the kitchen, prepare it, take it upstairs and serve her.
“Obviously it was not like being in Buckingham Palace.
“We did our best. Whatever she wanted, we did. She ordered from the menu. I suggested what she wanted.
“We provided, we served her, and she ate and that is it.”
Despite serving the Queen, Roberto has never revealed whether Her Majesty tucked into a pie, sausage and mash, or another pub favourite.
He told the documentary: “I know what she had, but I never told anybody.”
The year after Roberto’s royal encounter, he told The New York Times that he “couldn’t believe anyone would be out in that weather”.
A member of the Queen’s security team said to him: “I wish to inform you that Her Majesty the Queen is outside. Could you accommodate her too?”
Roberto’s wife, Heather, revealed to The Times what Her Majesty wore during her stay at the B&B.
She said: “I must have been the only woman who ever received the Queen in her old blue jeans and sweatshirt.
“We didn’t have time to be nervous or fuss. I just made her a cup of tea and prepared the table for her to eat.”
The Queen quietly went through a back door of the hotel to her room so she could avoid other visitors.
Former royal protection officer Colin Tebbutt who was travelling with the monarch remembered how he ordered the staff to accommodate Her Majesty.
Speaking for the Channel 5 show, he said: “There was a man sweeping the steps.
“I took out my warrant card and said who I was and what I was doing and that I did not want any backchat.”
‘Secrets of the Royal Palaces’ is available to stream on My5.