A Warrington couple have been remembering fondly the time they met HRH Prince Philip at one of the Queen’s garden parties at Buckingham Palace.

Watching the news coverage over the weekend, following the death of the Duke of Edinburgh on Friday morning, Christine and Eric Bancroft, of Great Sankey, said it was an honour to meet the royal consort after being invited to attend one of the annual events in July 2007.

The couple travelled to London via coach and, after going through the iconic gates at Buckingham Palace, they walked up the red carpet leading to the main entrance and into one of the reception rooms before being invited out onto the lawn.

Christine and Eric were not initially selected to meet with any members of the royal family, but when Prince Philip saw their Salvation Army uniforms he told his equerry that he wanted to talk to them.

Christine said: “As he was coming down the aisle we heard Prince Philip say ‘there’s some friends from the Salvation Army’.

“He came over to us and asked about the red stripes on my uniform and also what role I had in the Salvation Army.

“I told him that I was a cradle roll sergeant which meant I looked after children under five.”

Christine, who is 72, added: “We shook hands and he was a proper gentleman.

“It was such an honour to actually meet him and we spent the rest of the day on cloud nine.”

The couple, who live on Helmsdale Lane, enjoyed the luxury afternoon tea of cucumber sandwiches and scones while listening to the band on the palace lawn before taking a walk around the Queen’s rose garden.

But it was the unforgettable experience they shared with Prince Philip that they remember most from the special day.