Distinguished guests enjoyed a sunny afternoon at Arundel Museum on Tuesday.
Important faces from all walks of life could be seen, but none was more eagerly-anticipated than Princess Alexandra.
Originally due to visit four years earlier, it was certainly worth the wait for the Mill Road museum’s volunteers, who delighted in speaking to her royal highness about their work.
Arriving in a sleek black Jaguar, the princess greeted Georgina Fitzalan-Howard, Duchess of Norfolk and Sussex Police Assistant Chief Constable Steve Barry outside the museum, before going inside.
She was given a tour of the exhibits, which show Arundel’s transformation over the course of its history
Many of the dozens of people who volunteer for the museum attended, with the princess spending lots of time talking to them.
Christopher Boyce, legal director for the museum and volunteer, said: “She was very enthusiastic, she took an interest in the people she was talking to.”
Malcolm Farquharson, chairman of the museum trustees, gathered everybody in the museum gallery and expressed his ‘great pleasure’ in welcoming them.
He then asked their royal guest if she would officially open the museum gallery.
The princess had been due to open the gallery in 2013, after the museum was opened, but had to postpone due to ill health.
Nick Herbert, prospective parliamentary candidate said: “It was an absolutely wonderful day.
“It was lovely for the volunteers who have worked so hard to fundraise to create this museum to have it recognised.”
Ernestos Karydis, manager of Arundel museum, said one of his highlights was a real ‘it’s a small world’ moment.
He said the father of one of the volunteers present was the pilot for Princess Alexandra’s honeymoon.
He added: “It’s a big moment for the museum, it went very well.
“She’s so generous with her time, such a lovely lady.
“She spent time with all the volunteers, she wanted to talk to everybody.”
Indeed the princess’ wish to speak with everyone led to her leaving a little late.
Arundel mayor Angela Standing said: “She’s so lovely, she was asking me how long I had been mayoress.
“She said ‘lots of practice to come then’.”