Once inside the castle it was all pomp and ceremony, we walked through some amazing rooms and on some super plush carpet. The people looking after us could not have been nicer and all the different honour categories were
sent into different rooms. After about half an hour of chatting with some pretty impressive people who were receiving their honours for amazing humanitarian endeavours, we were given an important briefing, this consisted of telling us where to walk, who to stand next to and then how to greet the Duke of Cambridge (Prince William). I listened carefully and then after some more small talk the time had come and we were lined up to go to receive our honour. At this point a very lovely butler called George came over and said he would look after my mum and give her the best view in the house…she was delighted with her ‘Butler for the Day’. We dutifully queued and could only see when the person in front had their turn so it all then seemed a bit rushed in terms of learning what I was supposed to do. I was reminded of how to walk up to Prince William, keep my distance, turn, curtsey or bow and then walk up to him for him to pin on the medal. Then suddenly I was ‘on’, now it all turned into a blur, mum was whisked off by ‘George’ and I had to meet Prince William, I am sure I walked up okay, however I am pretty sure I forgot to curtsey or bow, I then had a very nice chat about the state of Social Care, where I managed to shoe horn in twice that Social Care was not as well off as the NHS, I was given the medal, shook hands (that was unexpected as I thought maybe covid had stopped all that touching) and then stepped back, I think at this point I may have bobbed a bit and nodded but I am not at all sure I managed either a bow or a curtsey as I was keen to make my exit. Phew! At least I hadn’t fallen over.
I then met back up with mum, passed the beautiful orchestra and was escorted to the next room. We then had the official photos. Once finished I felt I could breathe again, we then were given plenty of time to walk through the adjoining rooms (no photos inside) while meeting even more lovely friendly staff who kept saying ‘congratulations’. The walk back down the hill was not nearly so stressful and I was met at the gate by my lovely family who kept taking photos and treating me like a celebrity, members of the public kept pointing at the funny lady in her hat (that was me). We relaxed soon after with a gin and tonic and then moved back to the hotel for a super Jubilee Afternoon Tea – during which I kept my hat on (making the most of the only time I will wear it 😊). Finally, we had a walk along the river in the sunshine and then made our way home. I am pleased to say that I managed not to lose the medal and I have put it in a very safe place.
What a day!