When The Queen visited Stratford in 1996 five-year-old Zakary Snelson took his duties very seriously...
ONE adorable photo that has emerged from The Queen’s 1996 visit to Stratford is of five-year-old schoolboy Zakary Snelson giving Her Majesty a very deep bow – in return she bends to greet him.
She was in the town to celebrate Stratford’s 800th anniversary – from when it was given its charter.
Although Zakary is now 31, mum Fiona says the photo is still very much treasured. “That day was so surreal, watching my son with The Queen,” she said. “I think it was and still is one of my most precious memories and I remember feeling so proud. He did the most perfect bow. I didn’t know he was chosen until that morning. I had to rush into town and find somewhere to stand so I could see him. After he had given the flowers, one of the security men picked him up and put him back over the barricade, it was quite funny.”
The Snelsons – including Zakary’s two younger brothers – left Stratford in 2007 to emigrate to Australia.
Despite his young age and his subsequent new life in a different hemisphere, Zakary says meeting The Queen is a vivid memory. He recalled: “I went to Elfin School, and I can still remember sitting in the classroom as a hat was passed around. We each had to take out a folded piece of paper. When I opened mine there was a picture of a crown, that meant I had been picked to present her with a bouquet as a welcome gift.
“Leading up to the event I was taught how to bow properly for The Queen (a small nod would suffice) and then present her with the flowers. When the big day came, I remember getting all dressed up in my uniform and heading into town. It was the busiest I had ever seen it, people were packing the streets. Suddenly the crowds parted and The Queen herself was before us. Forgetting everything I had been shown, I did the biggest bow down to my toes before reaching back up to give her the bouquet. I can still remember her smiling as she took it from me, and then she was off to continue with the celebrations throughout the town.”