Honing woman, 100, remembers cradling a royal princess

PUBLISHED: 09:00 05 February 2013

Peggy Bubb celebrating her 100th birthday at the Good Companions Club in North Walsham.

Peggy Bubb celebrating her 100th birthday at the Good Companions Club in North Walsham. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2013

A north Norfolk woman who remembers cradling the current Princess Alexandra as a baby has just celebrated her 100th birthday.

Margaret “Peggy” Bubb’s mother was a cook for the princess’s mother, the Duchess of Kent.

And as a young woman Peggy remembers cuddling the infant royal, who was born on Christmas Day 1936.

Mrs Bubb, whose own birthday was February 3 1913, trained as a florist and worked for Selfridge’s in London during the 1930s.

One of her daily duties was to take a single, fresh, red rose in a vase and place it beside the photograph of store owner Harry Gordon Selfridge’s late wife, Rose, who had died in the 1918 ’flu epidemic.

The shop founder’s life is the subject of ITV’s current TV series Mr Selfridge, although Mrs Bubb said she had not seen any of the episodes.

She remembered him only as a man who walked around the store in a top hat.

Mrs Bubb moved to Norfolk to live with her son and his wife in Honing and is a regular at North Walsham’s Good Companions Club.

Members celebrated with her on Friday, enjoying a special birthday cake and a visit from deputy mayor Jacqui Belson.

Born in Wandsworth, Mrs Bubb’s father was a policeman. She married her late husband Jack in 1939 and the couple had two children, Janis and Malcolm.

She saw out the war in West London, dodging the Blitz in an Anderson shelter while her husband worked for General Aircraft, in Feltham.

After moving to Ealing, Mrs Bubb worked in a florist’s shop opposite the famous Ealing Studios and became familiar with many British stars of the post-war era, including Sid James, Tony Britton and the comedian Dick Emery.

“Sometimes they used to film outside,” she recalled. “Dick Emery would see us watching and afterwards he’d shout across ‘All right was it?’”

The family move to Harrow in 1960 where Mr Bubb died in 1971. Mrs Bubb stayed on until 2009 when she came to Honing.

Mrs Bubb has only needed hospital treatment once in her long life, when her appendix was taken out during her 20s.

She has five children, seven great-grandchildren and enjoys knitting and reading but has still not lost her life-long wanderlust.

She and her husband were among the early pioneers of continental holidays immediately after the second world war and would regularly load their car into a plane and fly across the Channel from Kent.

Up until the age of 96 Mrs Bubb was also a regular visitor to the USA where her daughter has lived for many years.

And, as she still has two years left on her current passport, she is contemplating making one more trip across the Atlantic to see her American family in her 100th year.

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