The £2.99 fish and chips fit for royal banquet! Princess Anne's husband drops into Brid's Friendly Forester pub
IT SEEMS even the Royal Family are having to tighten their belts in tough financial times.
The cost of the first royal banquet in 2013 has been revealed at just £51.
That's what the bill came to when Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence, husband of the Queen's only daughter Princess Anne, took a party of ten for a royal lunch.
Rather than the famously dainty Buckingham Palace cucumber sandwiches, the former Royal Navy Commander into a feast that cost just £2.99 a plate from a pub's family menu.
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Sir Tim, 56, strolled into Sizzling Pubs' Friendly Forester in Bridlington with a party of ten pals last week.
They ordered eight meals from the pub's £2.99 value menu plus two sandwiches for the cheapest Royal banquet ever.
Friendly Forester manager Paul Toward said: "It's not every day we get a Royal party in here.
"Even though we are renowned for good food at great prices, it was a bit of a shock when the Royal security guards walked in shortly followed by Tim Laurence and the rest of his party."
The party of ten spent an hour in the pub and considerably less in financial terms than they are perhaps used to – the ten meals plus drinks coming to just over £50.
Sir Tim, resplendent in a green tweed hunting suit, first sent two Royal security guards into the small family pub in Marton Gate.
They obviously decided it was safe enough because, a short time later, the Royal party descended on the building at the height of its busy lunchtime period and took over a quiet section at the rear of the establishment.
The retired Vice Admiral seemed happy to munch down the pub's favourite fish'n'chips meal and wash it down with a large Pepsi.
Despite the no-nonsense approach, it was not long before his famous face was recognised by astonished pub regulars.
Mr Toward said: "We have no idea what they were doing in the area.
"We've even checked the Royal diary and can't see that Sir Tim had anything scheduled in Yorkshire so can only assume he was here on a social trip."
Officials at Buckingham Palace said, because the vice admiral is a private member of the public, they are unable to discuss his diary.
A spokesman said: "We would only be able to comment if it was a specific engagement. If it's a private matter, we can't."
Whatever the nature of his visit, Sir Tim's appearance in Bridlington raised a few eyebrows.
Mr Toward said: "It didn't take long before the regulars realised who he was and there was a lot of whispering and nudging going as word went around.
"But the group were obviously just here for a decent and cheap British pub meal and a bit of peace and quiet.
"Sir Tim was dressed in a green tweed style outfit, so maybe they had been doing some hunting or something similar.
"They were here for about an hour – from 12.45pm to 1.45pm – and it was a pleasure to play host to them.
"Sir Tim even said goodbye and waved to us when he left. He was a true gent."
Sir Tim Laurence met Princess Anne when he served as an Equerry to The Queen.
The Princess's first marriage to Captain Mark Phillips broke down.
She married Sir Tim on December 12, 1992, in a Church of Scotland ceremony at Crathie Parish Church, Ballater, near the Royal Estate of Balmoral.
Despite a reputation for being frugal, the Princess Royal and her husband are occasionally happy to splash out a bit.
Last year, they invested in a £500,000 bespoke Rustler 44 yacht.
It is believed to have been built to exacting specifications and include twin cabins, a large galley and lounge areas.
The couple spend most of their holidays cruising around Scotland.
Sir Tim's visit to Bridlington may have provided him with the opportunity to check out some of the excellent mooring facilities the Yorkshire coast has to offer.
Flamborough and Spurn are also likely to have been big attractions as the princess is known to be a keen pharologist – someone who studies lighthouses. She has vowed to see every one in the country.
Sir Tim has proved an ideal companion for the famously outspoken and outdoors loving princess.
He received no peerage on marriage, but was knighted by The Queen in June 2011 as a Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order.