With news of the death of Prince Philip this morning, I thought back to Catherine Hennessey relating the story of the grape scissors on her blog in 2000:
There is a story connected with the Ribbon Cutting at Beaconsfield that I must share with you.
When we knew she was going to cutting a ribbon we wanted to make it quite beautiful and indeed the ribbon was … the scissors were the problem. It is very difficult to find beautiful scissors.
I happened to be in Montreal a couple of months before the event and I searched all the antique shops along Sherbrooke Street etc. no luck, so I reviewed the issue. In one of the shops there were these beautiful looking scissor-like things with sterling handles that seemed worthy. When I asked to examine them I was told they were grape scissors. “Would they cut a ribbon?” I asked and she produced a piece a ribbon for us to try. If you held them at a certain angle they’d work and I came proudly home with grape scissors.
In the picture you will notice Prince Philip bending over the Queen’s shoulder looking perplexed. He is actually mouthing the words “Grape Scissors, she can’t cut the ribbon with those!”
We mumbled something and she did cut the ribbon and on the show went.
Beaconsfield looked lovely that day. There was not alot in it. It looked pristine and it had the most glorious flower arrangments all over. Mary Dolphin had done them and the flowers came from all the best gardens in town! It was a very special event.