I must admit that I haven’t received a wedding invitation from the Palace to attend the Royal Nuptials of Kate and William. So when perusing the local paper in the bar I came across an open invitation to celebrate Queen Elizabeth’s 85th Birthday, it seemed like a way of getting in on the act. The Royal fever had so far passed me by but there are times when one has a strange little stir of national feeling in the pit of ones stomach. Therefore on Thursday 21st April I put on my lipstick and even a pair of heels and headed of to one of the four bars mentioned. The British Royal family have always liked Lucca and several members have holidayed in the area. Prince Charles once described Lucca as the most beautiful city in the world.
On our arrival we found Bar Il Cuore decked out in Union Jacks. However there wasn’t crowd of eager expats waiting to be offered a free Prosecchino but a small group of Italians who obviously were old friends. We hovered on the threshold in a sort of reserved British fashion feeling that maybe we were gate-crashing a private party. We were on the verge of retreating into the beautiful
Tuscan evening, when the host came and welcomed us and was over the moon to find a genuine example of the British species present. It seemed Andrea Colombini is not only the organizer of Puccini concerts in Lucca, but also a great anglophile and importer of British military bands to the area.
The evening to celebrate The Queens Birthday is it seems an annual event and this year there were portraits done by local artists of the Queen in all of the bars. The part of chatty Italians plus me and half-caste daughter moved along to the next bar, a favorite of hers due to their great selection of free antipasti. Just as foresaid daughter was tucking in we called to return to the first bar where two English had been found. Back we trooped to find two tourists with distant British connections who lived in Switzerland. The lack of British representation however didn’t detract from the evening and we had a lovely chat to members of Colombini orchestra, sharing stories about the musical world and making new friends.
We Brits don’t normally celebrate the real birthday of the Queen so it was nice to know that her Italian friends do. Ma’am it just remains for me to say “ Auguri da Lucca per il Suo 85mo Compleanno e per il matrimonio di Catherine e William”.