After a pandemic-induced break, last week we headed back to St James Palace for the first time since 2019, to celebrate Christmas with 140 veterans and their guests. Although on a smaller scale than we are used to, the intimate setting felt cosy and familiar, as though we were reconnecting with old friends.
It was quite a monumental Christmas party for us, as it marked 100 years since our very first Christmas Party was established, hosted by King George V and Queen Mary in 1921.
The Not Forgotten Royal Christmas Party was established by King George V and Queen Mary in 1921 and has now been running for 100 years!— The Royal Family (@RoyalFamily) December 3, 2021
📸The Duke and Duchess of York, later King George VI and Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, at the 1923 NFA Christmas Party. pic.twitter.com/rTi57H5BIh
Amongst friends were so many new faces, who were welcomed into The Not Forgotten family this year, with arms stretched open. People arrived as strangers, nervous they were going to be alone for their time in the palace, but within a few conversations (and some mulled wine!) friendships were forged as the crackers were pulled.
The Not Forgotten has always existed to bring people together, and so to witness it first hand was beautiful. For those of us who are lucky to call The Not Forgotten our jobs, it really did drive home who we are and what we do…but most importantly, why we do it.
As Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal greeted beneficiaries and the magicians performed their tricks at the tables, a sense of the world before Covid was remembered, and trust us when we say it felt incredible.
The evenings weren’t without their own celebrations, as the dining room at the Union Jack Club was filled with laughter (and the sound of Sweet Caroline….). Thank you to all of those who were a part of the two day celebration, we really do hope that you enjoyed yourselves, made some life long friends and felt as though you were part of the family.
Next, we begin our series of Drive-In events and Christmas lunches across the country, we hope to see you there!
From all of us at The Not Forgotten, we want to wish you a very Merry Christmas and all of the best wishes we can for the New Year.