Captain Ken #8Buckingham Palace

Captain Ken Owen had a long career at sea which included sailing as master with Overseas Containers Limited (OCL), P&O Containers and P&O Nedlloyd.   Ken is now retired and in 2020 he started writing a monthly article for publication using the pen name 'Captain Ken' in the Mellor Church Outlook magazine.

A number of articles that Ken has written are about his time at sea with the company and he has very kindly agreed that we can share them here.  

This is the eighth article that we have reproduced on the PONLHeritage site and this one is very pertinent in the year of HM Queen Elizabeth II's Platinum Jubilee and her sad passing, followed by her eldest son, now King Charles III, becoming the reigning monarch.  Captain Ken Owen attends a Buckingham Palace Garden Party and realises the advantages of being in his Merchant Navy uniform...  


A few years ago, my wife Allwyn, and I, were extremely pleased and honoured to be invited to one of Queen Elizabeth’s Buckingham Palace Garden Parties.


On the big day, we queued, as previously instructed, outside the Palace gates, together with some four thousand other guests, and were somewhat surprised. when a polite uniformed policeman separated us from the other visitors, and asked us to proceed through the gates, across the forecourt, and enter the Palace through the main doors.  There we were saluted by a smart Ghurkha sentry and escorted to the beautiful gardens, to await all the other guests. 

We discovered that the reason for our exceptional selection, was that I was wearing my Merchant Navy uniform, and thus more vulnerable to any terrorist attack outside the palace walls, than other guests.


The Garden Party really was magnificent with the Queen and Prince Philip and most of the senior Royals mingling with guests in such a natural and friendly way.

Those readers of Outlook, who, as I do,  enjoy the ‘Laughs with Lynda’ articles, may be interested to know that Lynda Gwyther and her late husband Harold also attended the Queen’s Garden party some years earlier.


When, many years later, I heard of our Late Queen’s great sense of humour,  particularly  with her James Bond collaboration at the London Olympics, and Marmalade Sandwich sketch with Paddington Bear (both without the knowledge of her family),  I must say that I did wonder just what Lynda had discussed with Her Majesty.


I also noted that both Queen Elizabeth and Daniel Craig had one thing in common - Both had sea-going fathers. The Queen’s father was in the Royal Navy, and Daniel’s father was in the Merchant Navy as a Midshipman in Elder Dempster Lines, part of the Ocean Group.


And dear Harold was very fond of his fine boat on the Bridgewater Canal.


Finally wasn’t it wonderful when on the recent massive television coverage,  we were constantly reminded of the fame of Westminster Abbey?  We can all now. include the wonderful hosting of Mellor Church Choir!

(This article was first published in the October 2022 edition of the Mellor Church Outlook Magazine.)

A typical Buckingham Palace Garden Party, this one in 2014 (YouTube - The Royal Family)

2012 Olympics - HM Queen Elizabeth II escorted by '007, James Bond' (Youtube - BBC)

Platinum Jubilee 2022 - Paddington Bear has tea with the Queen at Buckingham Palace (YouTube - The Royal Family)

For further articles in this series:

Captain Ken Owen has kindly provided us with a new series of articles which will be published on a regular basis here. If you are interested in reading other articles that he has written which we haven't yet used then please feel free to go to