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In 1901 John Burden Blandy hosted a picnic banquet for the King and Queen of Portugal, Dom Carlos I and Dona Maria Amelia. The invitation was extended to the royal entourage as well as local residents and members of the English community. The party took place across the garden in front of Casa Velha. The monarchs arrived separately; the king rode up on horseback and the queen arrived by bullock sledge.

As befitting a royal occasion, everything had been thought about in advance except one thing - toothpicks! John Ernest Blandy quickly whittled a match down for the king who indeed requested one at the conclusion of lunch.

Later, a game of tennis was organized. Dom Carlos played in his waistcoat smoking a cigar. His opponent was John Ernest Blandy who related that in order to play, he [Blandy] took off his leather boots and played in stockinged feet.


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