Maggie Royal, a well-loved member of the extended FICPI family, passed away on the 20th day of May 2016.
Maggie was the wife of Malcolm Royal, the President of FICPI between 2000 and 2003. Both Malcolm and Maggie were active participants in FICPI events for more than 20 years and both were larger than life characters. Maggie had a wonderful generosity and warmth that touched everyone that came to know her. Maggie was always on the lookout for those new delegates arriving at their first FICPI event. It was not unusual to see Malcolm and Maggie off to dinner somewhere with their well-established friends, together with a young couple who were trying to find their feet. Maggie had the skill of making someone feel like they had been a lifelong friend, even though they had only recently met. Maggie also had an incredible memory for friends, their children and important milestones in their families – that was part of her magic.
Maggie’s hospitality wasn’t of course limited to formal FICPI functions. Very many FICPI members have memories of lunches, dinners and overnight stays at Maggie and Malcolm’s home in Port Melbourne, Australia or their fabulous holiday house at Queenscliff. This is where Maggie really came into her own, producing sumptuous lunches and magnificent dinners that many people still recall with fondness and gratitude.
Many of our older members will remember Malcolm’s determination to attend the FICPI Forum in Lisbon when he was very unwell. He could not have done this without Maggie’s incredible support. She was, through her earlier work, a registered nurse and without those skills I am not sure that Malcolm would have made it through the meeting and back home to Australia. Maggie had used her nursing skills at other FICPI events – notably tending to an injured delegate who was hurt on an excursion that went awry in South America.
Some years after Malcolm passed away, the FICPI Congress was held in Melbourne and Maggie delighted in meeting with many of her old friends at one of the Congress dinners, when she was a special guest. It reminded me of a truly “royal” appearance, as there was a line of people in the function room waiting their turn to catch up with Maggie, with talk of family and her beloved grandchildren.
She was of course, also a remarkable support to Malcolm as a partner at Phillips Ormonde Fitzpatrick, often holding firm functions at the family home, progressively from Eltham, Kew and then Port Melbourne.
During Maggie’s short illness and period in hospital, she was touched by the many messages of support she received from her FICPI friends around the world. The hospital staff were staggered that she had such a broad network of friends. She is now with Malcolm, who she missed dreadfully since his premature death in 2006.
We shall miss Maggie, her wonderful stories, and her infectious laugh.
President - FICPI Australia