Jun 4 2012 By Poppy Bradbury
Prince Andrew , Princess Eugenie and Beatrice visit a street party on Christchurch Street in Chelsea as part of the Sunday Diamond Jubilee celebrations.
THE drizzle did nothing to dampen spirits as the Duke of York and princesses Beatrice and Eugenie made a surprise visit to a Big Lunch at one of the oldest churches in Fulham.
Prince Andrew and his daughters were welcomed by excited crowds at All Saints Church in Pryors Bank at 1pm on Sunday (June 3).
In a speech to the crowd, the duke said: "It is an enormous pleasure to be here and join you at your lunch. This is such a wonderful atmosphere and expression of loyalty to Her Majesty.
"Beatrice, Eugenie and I are delighted to be included in your event, and we would like to express our gratitude and say you are included in our event as well."
They arrived a few hours before the royal barge departed at Battersea to lead the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Pageant down the Thames.
Despite the gloomy weather, flags were flying high and hundreds of guests tucked into tea and cake as the Fulham Brass Band played the national anthem.
The duke looked distinguished in his navy best as he greeted residents. Princess Beatrice wore a silver and black dress with silver hat while younger sister Eugenie impressed in a simple peach fishtail dress and black sequined fascinator.
Father Joe Hawes said it was an honour to welcome the royals, saying: "We're most thrilled, completely honoured and very surprised that they are taking the time to do this when they have to be on a boat in half an hour. It's really important for them to come to our community event, which is amazing for us."
The Duke was impressed by one very patriotic outfit, a Union Jack rain coat worn by Geraldine Fisher. The 65-year-old said: "I never thought my 9 Primark jacket would get so much attention."
She added: "I live in Florida in America but am still a full British citizen. My brother lives in Putney so I made sure I flew over to be here for the Jubilee celebrations."
And in nearby Bishops Park, hundreds of revellers crowded on the river front to catch a glimpse of the 1,000-strong flotilla of boats.
One young patriotic spectator was seven-year-old Theo Whatley who wore a red, blue and white mohican-styled wig and found a prime spot near Putney Bridge.
Grandad Kenneth Baker, 67, said: "We came all the way up from Burnham near Windsor today. I'm here with all the family. My sister-in-law lives nearby in Fulham. We hope this will be a good spot to see the small boats and probably the Dunkirk boats. I'm very patriotic indeed."