The Ladies Who Lunched With The Queen

Erin Pizzey amongst women at Royal luncheon

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A series of events to mark International Women's Day culminated in a ladies luncheon at which the Queen paid tribute to more than 180 celebrated women from the arts, media, law and business.  

Held at Buckingham Palace, the Queen was joined was joined by the Princess Royal, the Countess of Wessex and the Duchess of Gloucester as she welcomed guests which included author JK Rowling and Cherie Booth QC.   Supermodel Kate Moss brought glamour to the occasion, as did Mobo awards organiser Kanya King, Vogue editor Alexandra Shulman and Tamara Mellon, owner of the Jimmy Choo shoe label.

Local luminaries in attendance included Erin Pizzey founder of the Chiswick Women's Refuge, the world's first shelter for domestic violence victims. Pizzey was hailed around the world as a feminist icon until she revealed 60% of the women in the shelter were as violent as the men they had left. Some radical feminists were so opposed to Ms Pizzey's claim that women could be violent that they threatened her with death.

Also present was the District Line's Hannah Dadds who became Britain's first female Tube driver when she took up her post in 1978.   Now retired and living in Spain she said, "I thoroughly enjoyed my time as a driver. The blokes were very supportive and I can't think of any reason why women should not consider driving trains for a living."

This event was the first all female event to be held at the Palace and, according to a Palace spokeswoman, "Is about women and their achievements. It's not just well known people, there will be lots of business women, women from arts and education and grass roots people."

March 20, 2004