AN ELDERLY widow waiting at the front door of Lord Mountbatten’s Broadlands home in Romsey was rewarded with a royal handshake from the Queen Mother.

Gladys Wiltshire, from Chilbolton, had read that the Queen Mother was visiting on July 13, 1979, to attend a garden party organised by the Museums Association.

So she wrote to Lord Mountbatten explaining that her mother, 86-year-old Annie Dark, had never met a member of the royal family.

That was put right as the Queen Mother stopped to shake hands and exchange a few words as she left the house.

“It has really made our day,” said Mrs Wiltshire at the time.

The Queen Mother arrived in a helicopter of the Queen’s Flight, and was greeted by Lord Mountbatten before the pair walked to the house to the cheers of some of the visiting members of the public.

The visit was informal, with no speeches and just a few official handshakes before mingling with members of the Museums Association.

The garden party marked the end of the association’s annual conference in Southampton.

Later, the Queen Mother, who made rare visits to Broadlands, followed the public route around the house, with Lord Mountbatten as her personal guide.

She spoke to several members of the Broadlands staff before being greeted by about 50 people, still waiting outside.

As the helicopter flew back to Clarence House, their final glimpse was of a handkerchief waving from a small window.