One Painting, One Story: The Queen Likes the Royal Victoria Yacht Club!

by Suzanne Heron.

One customer is a bit of a royalist – she sends cards now and then to various members of the royal family. She sent a card congratulating Queen Elizabeth on her Diamond Jubilee, and in due course a note arrived from Buckingham Palace thanking her for her kind sentiment, and by the way what a lovely card it was. So I can tell you that the Queen likes “RVYC Races from 10 Mile Point”!

I was telling that story (okay, bragging) at a market and was told this by a member: Prince Andrew, the Royal Patron of the Club, hosted a breakfast in 2003. In attendance was a fellow member and his 93-year-old mum, who the year before had been given permission to acknowledge her wartime work at Bletchley Park. [For younger folks – Bletchley was the headquarters of British codebreakers in WWII and everyone working there was sworn to secrecy.] No-one had advertised her presence, so everyone was astonished at the end of the breakfast when Prince Andrew presented her with a medal. The Prince does his homework on the guests at his table!

Founded in 1892 – spurred on by races to help celebrate Queen Victoria’s birthday – the RVYC is the oldest yacht club in western Canada. Marinas in Cadboro Bay, and Tsehum Harbour in Sidney, promote yachting, seamanship, racing & cruising. In 1911 King George V granted permission to add “Royal” to the title. The club organizes the Swiftsure race, now the largest annual offshore race in the Pacific Northwest. Member swag includes a silver medal from the Paralympics, a bronze medal from the Olympics, a Laser World Championship and 2 Mallory Cups. And there is racing every Wednesday and Thursday evening all summer long, a great sight from 10 Mile Point.


p.s. I’ll have the large print of RVYC Races at “Arts & Music in the Gardens”, Aug 25 & 26 at The Gardens at HCP, from 10:00 – 4:00 both days. There will be all sorts of artwork, live music, fabulous food, a plant sale, used books for sale, and all sorts of activities for all ages – all in the fabulous and stunning gardens.

4 Responses to One Painting, One Story: The Queen Likes the Royal Victoria Yacht Club!

  1. Speaking of connections to royalty, I got this lovely note from a friend in England:

    Hi, Suzanne!
    What a lovely story, and so you absolutely should brag… we managed to get Judi to be really honest about how she felt when her youngest son flew Prince William and his family over to Victoria in his float plane. She was SO proud, she said, to see pictures on TV and in the newspapers of her son – HER SON – shaking hands with two future kings !

    When Stuart, our youngest, was about four/five he had an obsession to write to important people about important matters. One of the letters he sent was to the Queen just before Charles’ and Diana’s wedding, ‘Dear Your Majsty, when my sister got mared it rianed and rianed, and we were all very wet I hope it doesn’t rian when your boy gets mared I think youd better take a raincot just in case and make sure your boy dose to. From your frend Stuart Meade. He got a reply written by the Queen’s Lady in Waiting and signed by the Queen. ‘ Dear Stuart the Queen was very grateful for your advice, she will make sure there are coats for everyone in case it rains. What a shame that your sister’s wedding was spoiled. Thank you very much for your kind concern …. ‘ I wonder what the postman thought when he delivered it?!!

    August 23, 2018 at 6:04 pm
  2. Another lovely note with a Bletchley connection . . .
    Love the story, Suzanne! It’s difficult to tell whether the image is a photo or a painting! Beautiful!

    I’m wondering if the lady to which you refer is the lady who turns up for Winston Churchill Day at the Edge of Beacon Hill Park each January or February. Les Leyne of the Times Colonist is one of the people involved in the organization of this event. A fellow dressed as Churchill says a few words, people have their picture taken with him (like he was the real thing, fake cigar and all) and it is a nice little celebration. The “lady” announced she had permission to state she was part of the “Bletchley” crew! She was quite fascinating!

    August 23, 2018 at 6:06 pm
  3. Les Layne of the Times Colonist very kindly sent this along . . .
    I started the little Churchill event on a whim in 1999, by inviting readers to join me around a hawthorn tree in Beacon Hill Park that Churchill planted so we could toast him near the anniversary of his death. He planted it during a brief visit to Victoria in 1929, as part of a cross Canada and cross U.S. tour.
    Enough people showed up that it turned into an annual event. We have a champagne toast to his memory on the Sunday afternoon closest to the anniversary of his death (Jan. 24, 1965). Then we share stories and raffle off some books and memorabilia.
    The tree is in the Mayor’s Grove at the foot of Quadra St. There is a small plaque marking it.
    I’ve met an amazing collection of people over the years and Olive is an outstanding example. She’s attended a few times and as far as I am concerned is the superstar of the event.
    She told a story last year that just floored me. She was working with Alan Turing in his office when Churchill was paying an official visit to Bletchley. Turing couldn’t be bothered with all the protocol stuff, so he reached out with his leg and kicked his office door closed before Churchill passed by.
    I can’t remember if she told me this or someone else did, but Olive, like all the others, took the secrecy oath very seriously.
    She married a Canuck who was or became a doctor and they lived here for years. It was only at a dinner party when the subject of Enigma came up, maybe 20 years ago or so, that she volunteered the fact that she was one of the code-breakersl. The Enigma story was just gaining ground at the time, and her husband was floored to discover his wife was a historical figure…

    August 23, 2018 at 6:08 pm
  4. The thing I love most about sharing digital paintings and their stories is the threads and layers of stories that develop. This weekend I heard 2 more stories, in 2 threads, to add to this tale. One is another story about Olive – Olive Bailey. I have no idea if she is the Bletchley gal who received a medal from Prince Andrew, but she WAS a Bletchley gal, with her degree in Mathematics from Oxford. Someone who stopped by at the HCP Gardens “Arts & Music” told me this:
    Olive was married to a doctor. After the war he was recruited to go to Saskatchewan, where MDs were desperately needed. After they landed in Prince Albert, a nice fellow from the neighbourhood came to welcome them. “Your name is Olive? Well that is lovely, MY wife is also Olive!” That was John Diefenbaker.
    The other story follows a thread about the RVYC. At their 100th anniversary 5 years ago, the headline read “No Royals Coming.” So they got a phone call – the woman who phoned them told me this – saying, “We have Royals. Which Royal would you like?” It was the owners of the Victoria Wax Museum! So Queen Elizabeth appeared at the RVYC’s 100th anniversary, complete with a (living) entourage of characters from the 1780s to the 1920s. Everyone was very happy.

    August 28, 2018 at 11:42 pm