CALDICOT Male Voice Choir topped an ‘incredible’ weekend in London by entertaining Prince Charles, the Duchess of Cornwall and newly-weds Prince Harry and Meghan at a Buckingham Palace garden party.

The party, attended by 7,000 guests, was the start of a year of celebrations to mark Prince Charles’ 70th Birthday. It was also the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s first public engagement after their wedding.

The 65 choristers, who were representing the Welsh Association of Male Choirs, included 95-year-old Bill Nash, a choir member for 45 years.

“It was a brilliant occasion – and a real surprise for us to be involved,” said choir spokesman Lyn Gauntlett. “Our name was drawn from a hat at an event in Neath two weeks before. We were singing at a wedding in Machen that day and only found out from a posting on Facebook!

“We didn’t know that Prince Harry and Meghan would be attending until two days in advance so it was very exciting.”

Several members of the choir got to chat to Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall after the performance.

The choir’s date at the Palace on Tuesday, May 22, followed their appearance at the Royal Albert Hall the previous Saturday, as part of the Festival of Massed Male Choirs.

Guests at the garden party included representatives of charity groups supported by Prince Charles, and members of military organisations and the fire and emergency services.

The programme also included the Band of the Welsh Guards, The National Pipe Band, The Genesis Gospel Singers and Côr y Bro.

“Security was very tight. One choir member, who shall remain nameless, accidentally took his wife’s passport for identification purposes and wasn’t allowed in until a few hasty phone calls had been made,” said Lyn.

“We arrived at 1pm and were taken into a room at the back of the Palace for lunch. Then we changed into our dress uniforms and paraded through the grounds. We sang for about 30 minutes, from 4.30pm, outside the Royal tea tent – a beautiful setting next to the lake.”

The programme, conducted by Siân Hatton and Shirley Anne James and accompanied by John Nicholson and Siân included Cwm Rhondda, Anfonaf Angel, Llanfair, Rachie, Men of Harlech, God Bless the Prince of Wales and, as a special inclusion for the honeymoon couple, the romantic Everley Brothers hit, Let it Be Me.

Afterwards the choristers were invited into the tent for sandwiches, cakes and cups of tea before joining the line-up of performers to meet Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall.

The Royal couple congratulated musical directors Siân Hatton and Shirley Anne James on the performance.

Bass chorister Oliver Edwards was introduced to the Prince as the youngest Mayor of Caldicot Town Council and Bill Nash as probably the oldest, active chorister in Wales at 95 years of age.

Several other choristers also spoke to the Royal couple, including Lyn himself, Andy Friedman, Roger Francis, Garry Keeble, David Currie, Ron Powell, David Gould and John MacArthur.

“The Prince asked us things like what section we sang in and thanked us for our hard work and for coming to his party,” said Lyn. “It was a memorable day for all of us.”

The choir also sang outside the front gates in 2002 as part of the Queen’s Golden Jubilee.