Queens Hotel proudly announces new partnership with Portsmouth Pride

A new partnership between the Queens Hotel and Portsmouth Pride has just been announced – and we celebrated the news in style with The Face of Portsmouth Pride, drag queen Cherry Liquor.

With Portsmouth Pride due to take place on Saturday June 11, the Queens Hotel General Manager Paul Playford was delighted to welcome members of the Portsmouth Pride management team and their giant flag too …

“We are really excited to announce our partnership and we will become The Official Hotel of Portsmouth Pride. We see the Queens Hotel as being a place that offers a warm welcome to everyone.

“Our team will be taking part in the parade ahead of the main Portsmouth Pride event and we look forward to welcoming people attending Portsmouth Pride as we will be opening our newly designed garden on the day.

“This is just the start of our partnership with Portsmouth Pride and we look forward to working closely together during the coming year,” he said.

Anyone attending Portsmouth Pride will be welcome to keep the party vibe going by joining us on our opening weekend in the Queens Hotel garden.

Commenting on the partnership with the Queens Hotel, chairperson Tally Aslam, said:”We are so looking forward to building a close working relationship with the Queens Hotel – and it is great that they will be joining the parade and supporting our Portsmouth Pride Main Day Event.

“We are a charity and rely on support from businesses and organisations like the Queens to be able to carry on the good work we do – and as a result of this partnership, we also secured a partnership with Hovertravel who work closely with the hotel too.”

Portsmouth Pride is set to make a triumphant return in 2022 after two years of not being able to run its iconic event for the LGBTQ+ community in Portsmouth. 

Portsmouth Pride is a completely free and open event for the whole community, including allies to the LGBTQ+ community and brings together people from across Portsmouth, Fareham, Gosport, Havant, Hayling Island and further afield to enjoy a full day of celebrations on Saturday 11 June spread across Southsea Common. 

The emotive and inspirational day starts with their highlight parade which includes representatives from local community groups, youth groups, trade unions, activist groups, religious organisations, local businesses, and many more as well as being open to individual community members to join on the day. 

The parade takes in Southsea Seafront before entering the main pride area where visitors get to experience entertainment all the way through into the evening and spread across two different stages including their 2022 Headliner; RuPaul’s Drag Race UK vs The World Winner, Blu Hydrangea. 


Families enjoying live music and sunshine in the garden of the Queens Hotel, Portsmouth have helped to raise thousands of pounds for good causes.

For many years the hotel has supported the Rowans Hospice charity and recently presented CEO Ruth White and Chairman of Trustees John Watkins with a cheque for £2,500.

General Manager Catherine Austen commented: “The money has been collected as a result of our Summer Garden Parties. In total £5,000 was raised and the Southsea Skate Park has also received a donation.

“We see ourselves as the hotel at the heart of Southsea and very much a part of the community. Having come through the recent lockdowns and restrictions, we are delighted to have been able to support a charity that is so close to our hearts.”

Ruth White said she felt ‘humbled’ to see the transformation that had taken place at the Queens Hotel during the last lockdown and the amount of money that had been raised.

“Healthcare has had a difficult time through the pandemic but hospitality has really been hit badly.

“It is very humbling to see what you have achieved at the Queens through the lockdown. The garden parties have brought joy to people at a time when it was in short supply for most of us,” she said.

And John Watkins added: “We have been truly overwhelmed with the generosity of the public and touched that they remember us when so many other things have been occupying our time.”

Photo caption: Left to right Catherine Austen, General Manager; John Watkins Chair of Trustees and CEO Ruth White

A love of history and the place he calls home has inspired Southsea author Jack Wells to create a mystery book that all the family can enjoy.

The founder of Mystery Guides and recent winner of the Start Up Business of the Year in the Business Excellence Awards 2021 has chosen to set his latest book in Southsea and included many landmarks and historical events.

“I’ve created a fictional story that is based on fact and incorporates local history. I was born here and the history is something that I love about the place.

“You will find reference to the Spithead Mutiny, Mary Rose and the Battle of Southsea – people can learn a lot about the place as they walk round Southsea picking up clues.

“This definitely isn’t a history book but it is full of historical snippets that I hope people will find interesting,” he said.

Having studied history at university, Jack put his love of the past to good use by leading guided tours of Old Portsmouth and this further developed with a treasure hunt element.

“I ended up developing an app because I wasn’t always available to conduct the tours and then I wrote my first book.

“The book ended up being more successful than the app and I’ve gone on to write a whole series from there,” he said

Jack will be launching his Southsea book at the Queens Hotel on Friday August 6 with characters from Southsea Mystery Adventure brought to life and the chance to meet the author.

The Queens Hotel is featured in the book and is supporting Jack’s venture. Everyone who buys a copy at the launch event will be entered into a prize draw. One of the prizes is a family ticket for the final Kids Party of the summer on August 23. A grand prize of an overnight stay for two will also be on offer to the family that solves all the clues in the book and reveals the mystery. Participants need to tag the hotel in photos as they travel around Southsea.

General Manager Catherine Austen said: “We love the idea that Jack;s book is something that families can follow to find out more about Southsea – and it’s an activity that kids and parents can do together in the summer holidays.”

For more details follow the Queens Hotel on social media. 



Catherine Austen was particularly proud to have joined the team at the Queens as the new General Manager owing to a close family association with Southsea’s most stylish hotel.

Back in the sixties, her grandfather Ron Bennett led the in-house band and Catherine admitted her appointment felt even more special due to the close family tie.

Catherine’s aunt Cheryl Hamilton has researched Ron’s musical past and the talented jazz saxophonist played regularly at the hotel during the 1960s.

“He would be so proud of Catherine joining the hotel as General Manager,” said Cheryl.

Catherine has an impressive background in retail management and explained the move to the hospitality sector was to satisfy her need for a new challenge.

“I’ve worked in retail management for 37 years. I really enjoyed my time with Next but I was keen to take on a new challenge.

“My management experience has given me many transferable skills and I am looking forward to taking the Queens Hotel to the next stage in its journey.”

Catherine took up her post in May 2021 and she said she is looking forward to welcoming guests old and new to the Queens Hotel.

“I’ve always known the Queens Hotel because I was born in Portsmouth.

“My priorities are the staff and customers – and I want to make the Queens Hotel the most talked about place in Portsmouth once again,” she said.

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