A RESTAURATEUR got an early taste of the Diamond Jubilee celebrations when he was invited to speak to Prince Philip.
Krimo Bouabda and his wife Karen visited Buckingham Palace after being invited to a garden party just days before the Queen celebrated 60 years on the throne.
He was in the capital as part of his ambassador role with HMS Trincomalee, the oldest floating warship in the UK that is based in Hartlepool’s Maritime Experience.
The businessman was joined by HMS Trincomalee Trust general manager David McKnight as they enjoyed the regal surroundings with thousands of other representatives from a host of organisations.
The Duke of Edinburgh is the patron of the trust and was keen to talk about the Hartlepool landmark at the gathering.
Krimo, who runs the Portofino, Casa Del Mar and Krimo’s eateries at the Marina, said: “Prince Philip was absolutely amazing and knows the ship inside out.
“He was very jokey and was asking in what capacity I was involved. I told him about my restaurants and he was keen to talk about business and hear how things are going in Hartlepool.
“It was also great to see all the preparations for the Jubilee. London was bouncing and the whole experience was amazing, a real honour.”
Krimo was born and grew up in Algeria and says he would “never have dreamt” of receiving an invite to the Palace.
The 59-year-old, who has now lived in Hartlepool for 36 years, said: “I have a nephew in Algeria and he always asks ‘how’s Liz?’
“I told him I had been invited to her garden for a party and he couldn’t believe it.
“I love the Royal Family. I think they represent what’s good about Britain.
“What it also shows is how important the Trincomalee is. It’s iconic and is an important piece of history.
“People are amazed when they come to Hartlepool and see these masts in the middle of town. Towns across the country would love to have what we have.”