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A FORMER council leader said his first encounter with Queen Elizabeth II involved a rather awkward trip in an elevator.

The former leader of the now abolished South Glamorgan County Council, Cllr Russell Goodway opened up on how he ended up in a panic after getting in the wrong lift in County Hall with the late Queen when she visited Cardiff in October 1993.

Cllr Goodway shared the amusing story of his first encounter with The Queen during a special council meeting at City Hall on Tuesday, where members paid tribute to the former monarch.

“The truth is that my association with The Queen did not get off to the best of starts,” said the current Cardiff Council ward member for Ely.

On her visit to Cardiff that year, The Queen inaugurated Queen’s Gate in Butetown, being the first non-construction worker to travel through the Butetown tunnels.

She then went to County Hall.

Cllr Goodway recalled how nervous he was as he awaited her arrival at County Hall, which was not helped, he said, by being given a “very detailed” 59-page itinerary”.

He described how, on making their way up to the top level of County Hall, “things began to go wrong”.

Cllr Goodway said that on the day he was to ensure that he, along with the Queen and an entourage which included the lady in waiting, a personal protection officer, the lord lieutenant and the then secretary of state for Wales, John Redwood, were to travel in the left-hand lift.

However, as The Queen approached the lifts, she was pointed to the right hand one by a porter, according to Cllr Goodway.

“And the Queen dutifully entered the right hand lift,” he added.

“I followed, but as I turned around to look for the remaining passengers the doors closed and the lift started its upward journey.

“I panicked. As I turned towards Her Majesty, I recall thinking ‘my God I have got the Queen in this lift’.

“She clearly knew that something had gone wrong, even without the obvious look on my face. She laughed, then asked ‘where did they get the bricks to build this building?’.”

Cllr Goodway said:

“Thankfully, County Hall is not the Empire State Building and the journey was only four floors and we reached our destination quite quickly.

“On arrival, the police protection officer, followed by the council’s chief executive came charging up the stairs to rescue the situation.”


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