Power cut fails to stop Queen's tea and cakes date with Women's Institute

Queen Elizabeth II outside West Newton village hall in Norfolk after attending a meeting of the Sandringham Women's Institute of which she is president.
Queen Elizabeth II outside West Newton village hall in Norfolk after attending a meeting of the Sandringham Women's Institute of which she is president.

The Queen enjoyed tea and cakes with members of her local Women's Institute in a pitch-dark village hall after the power went out earlier in the day.

Each year the Queen visits WI members at West Newton village hall as part of her winter stay on her Sandringham estate in Norfolk.

Queen Elizabeth II leaves West Newton village hall, Norfolk

Queen Elizabeth II leaves West Newton village hall, Norfolk

Yvonne Browne, chairman of Sandringham WI, said the decision was taken to go ahead with the event despite the lack of heating or lighting, and that they were still able to make cups of tea as police brought them urns of hot water.

She added that the Queen saw the funny side, and was "laughing and smiling" as she enjoyed some sweet treats.

"You could say it's been very interesting," she said. "This morning the power went off at 11 minutes past six and all through the morning we had information 'it's on in an hour, it's on in an hour' so I took the decision we'd go ahead regardless.

"I had calls with the house and the Queen's private secretary said 'yes, if you're happy to go ahead we're happy to go ahead'.

"So Her Majesty valiantly came along to the WI this afternoon with no heating and no lighting and we were supplied with urns of water by the police to make the tea so we were actually able to provide everyone with a cup of tea.

"And of course the Queen came in and she was laughing and smiling with everybody sort of making remarks on the fact she couldn't really see us because it's quite dark, it's darker in the hall than it is outside.

"We've had a really lovely afternoon despite no heat or light."

The Queen arrived at the village hall in a Range Rover and was wearing a pink coat and carrying a black handbag.

The Queen joined the Sandringham branch of the WI in 1943 when she was still Princess Elizabeth and attends each year.