Cley shop owner praises her godmother - the Queen

Victoria and John Pryor's 1999 wedding, in the Royal Chapel, Windsor Great Park. To the left of the

Victoria and John Pryor's 1999 wedding, in the Royal Chapel, Windsor Great Park. To the left of the bride are her mother, Margaret Rhodes, the Queen Mother and Queen. On the far right is Princess Margaret. - Credit: Archant

A north Norfolk shop owner has paid tribute to the work ethic, stamina, and sense of duty shown by her godmother, the Queen.

Victoria Pryor, who owns Picnic Fayre in Cley-next-the-Sea with her husband John, is the daughter of the Queen's cousin and close friend, Margaret Rhodes.

Mrs Pryor said her mother would be dining with the Queen next week on the monarch's 90th birthday, April 21.

And Mrs Pryor and her husband will be among guests at the London thanksgiving service attended by the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh on June 10 in St Paul's Cathedral and afterwards at the Guildhall.

Mrs Pryor plans to return to Norfolk on June 11 and hopes to deck out Picnic Fayre with flags and invite customers to share a glass of celebratory punch and a piece of cake to mark the occasion.

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'Mummy and the Queen grew up together,' said Mrs Pryor, 62.

'She spent most of her time at Buckingham Palace. Mummy is a year older so the Queen celebrated mummy's birthday last year.

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'The Queen is extraordinary. Her sense of dedication is unbelievable.

'The wonderfulness of it all is that for people of my generation she has been one constant presence. Queen Victoria reigned for over 60 years but she hid herself away.

'Queen Elizabeth is there, doing everything. She works so hard. She, like the late Queen Mother, has a fantastic sense of duty and dedication.'

Mrs Pryor said she had often invited the Queen to visit her Cley shop.

'She has always said: 'Yes, yes' but I know that security is the problem. It can't happen,' she added.

Her older sister Annabel is the Duke of Edinburgh's goddaughter.

'If we were at parties the Duke would say: 'Here come the goddaughters - in a nice way!'

The Queen had been a generous godmother, sending 'lovely pressies' when she was a child, and a wedding present.

'I have been unbelievably lucky in my life,' said Mrs Pryor.

'I have been to lots of parties and spent time at Balmoral. I have loved visiting that life, but I wouldn't like to live in it.'

The monarch, Queen Mother and Princess Margaret were all guests at Mr and Mrs Pryor's wedding in 1999.

Born the Hon Margaret Elphinstone, Mrs Pryor's mother was the youngest daughter of the 16th Lord Elphinstone and his wife Lady Mary Bowes-Lyon, a sister of the Queen Mother.

During the Second World War the young Margaret lived at Windsor Castle and Buckingham Palace and was a bridesmaid at the Queen's wedding to Prince Philip in 1947.

? More than 7,000 school children are sending birthday messages to the Queen.

They are being published in a series of special supplements in the Eastern Daily Press on Monday, April 18; Tuesday, April 19 and Wednesday, April 20.

The EDP of Thursday, April 21, will include 90 Glorious Years - a 40-page supplement about the Queen's life and her links with Norfolk on the day she becomes our oldest reigning monarch.

On Friday, April 22, the EDP will be reporting on celebrations across the region for the Queen's birthday.

Are you organising a beacon lighting or event? Do you or a friend or family member share the same birthday as the Queen - April 21, 1926? E-mail

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