'I got such a warm and welcoming feeling from her': Leamington woman remembers when she met The Queen during her royal visit 11 years ago
As a ten-year-old schoolgirl, Vinitaraj Aulak presented a bouquet of flowers to the late monarch who had come to officially open the Warwickshire Justice Centre in March 2011. The moment was captured by former Leamington Courier photographer Jass Lall.
A Leamington woman has shared her fond memories of meeting Queen Elizabeth II when the late monarch visited the town 11 years ago.
As a ten-year-old schoolgirl, Vinitaraj Aulak presented a bouquet of flowers to the late monarch who had come to officially open the Warwickshire Justice Centre on Friday March 4 2011.
The moment was captured by former Leamington Courier photographer Jass Lall.
Vinitaraj, better known as Vini, was a pupil at Our Lady and St Teresa's Catholic Primary School and attended the event with her mother Balbir as part of a school trip.
Vini, 22, who recently graduated from the University of Warwick having studied English and Theatre and has been working as a presenter for the BBC Asian Network’s Represents show, said: “I still can’t believe how it all happened that day.
"I expected to see The Queen from the crowd but I never thought I would be giving her flowers and speaking to her.
"Her presence was so warm and welcoming and she took a little time to find out more about ten-year-old me – it was really lovely.”
Vini’s chance meeting with Queen Elizabeth II came about after Balbir had been invited to come on the trip at the last minute.
It was the fact she had her mother with her to give her permission to security staff that allowed Vini to gain access to the area where she could meet the monarch and her husband Prince Philip.
Vini said: “They were both really conversational and inquisitive.
"They asked my age and about which school I went to.
"At the time it felt like we talked for ages.”
Queen Elizabeth II died at Balmoral with her family by her side last Thursday (September 8).
Her funeral takes place in London on Monday (September 19) – which has been announced as a one-off national bank holiday.
Vini said: “I was shocked when I heard she had passed away because it seemed like she was carrying out her normal duties right up until the end.
"I feel so lucky to have met her.”