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Outgoing Preston mayor Yakub Patel recalls King Charles’ message to city

Posted on - 21st May, 2024 - 9:00am | Author - | Posted in - Politics, Preston Council, Preston News
Cllr Yakub Patel and his wife
Cllr Yakub Patel and his wife

The outgoing mayor of Preston says he was “in shock” when King Charles stopped to greet him at a royal garden party – and asked him to send a message back to the people of the city.

Yakub Patel – who has this week handed over the chains of office – was at Buckingham Palace for the event during his final days in the civic role.

As the King, together with Queen Camilla, passed by and waved at some of the 8,000 attendees, his attention was grabbed by Cllr Patel’s mayoral garb.

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“When he spotted my chain, he stepped back and walked towards me and asked, ‘Who are you?’  And as soon as he said that, I was absolutely frozen [at the fact that] the King was talking to me.

“When I said I was mayor of Preston in Lancashire, he shook hands with me and my wife and asked, ‘How is Preston?’

“I said that in the last 10 or 15 years, it’s been one of the most developing cities…in the whole country.

“Of course we all know the King has not been well, so I said to him, ‘The people of Preston have sent you love and prayers and best wishes for your good health.’ And he was really chuffed.

“He said to me, ‘When you go back, give my love and my regards to the people of Preston.’  As he asked me specifically to do that, I thought I must contact [the local press],” Cllr Patel added.

The exchange with the King – who has strong Lancashire connections as the Duke of Lancaster and who recently became patron of Lancashire Cricket – did not go unnoticed by those nearby and led to the departing mayor ending up in something of a selfie stampede, including with royalty from elsewhere in the world.

“Everybody was asking why he stopped and shook hands with me and I explained that I’m just a very ordinary person, but that I was mayor of Preston.

“And then people wanted pictures.  There were royal family there from Sudan, Kenya and Dubai – and even they wanted a picture with me.

“As you can appreciate when you’re talking to the King, I was shaking, I was just in shock .  It feels like a dream what happened to me, but what a  way to end my year as mayor,” Cllr Patel said.

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