By: Blonde One

To those of you who know me, you will know that I have been ‘going on’ recently about my desire to say these words at my recent trip to St James’ Palace. Well, you’ll be pleased (and relieved) to hear that I did actually say to The Duke of Edinburgh “Good Afternoon Your Royal Highness”! I figured that there will never again be an opportunity to say these words in my lifetime to HRH (I feel that I know him well enough to abbreviate his title!), so this was a big Blonde moment. Little did he realise that he was in the presence of a mystery celebrity!

The occasion was the Gold DofE Presentation. I was there in a double capacity: as DofE Manager I was there to act as Marshall but much more importantly I was there to see Little Miss Blonde receive her Award. To say that I was a very proud Mum is a huge understatement! I’m usually very tearful when emotional but this time even tears eluded me. The emotion was running so high that tears were out of the question. I’m very lucky that Little Miss Blonde has done an amazing number of very special things to make me proud: she has been a bit of a globetrotter, studied very hard, sung in some fantastic places, to name but a few. This day was probably beyond all the other celebrations of her successes though.

The day itself was fantastic. I love a bit of pomp and ceremony and it was there in bucketfuls! There was very definite etiquette: don’t undo the ribbon on the certificates until HRH has left the room, don’t extend your hand to shake his unless he does first (he did), don’t curtsy (I didn’t), don’t sit on the throne (the red and gold one not the white porcelain one), laugh at his jokes (he told a lot and they were all funny), stand and sit when told (despite normally being a bit rebellious, I did as I was told).

HRH was in fine fettle. He was very witty, seemed quite sprightly and clearly saw this as an important event in his diary. He made some lovely comments about the hundred or so youngsters in the room and asked questions that he seemed genuinely interested in the answers to.

I was in total awe of the people in that room: HRH, the Gold Award participants, and Stephanie Millward, (the Paralympics swimmer who was the guest VIP). The Award winners that I spoke to were in awe of the swimmer and HRH, but both of them, quite rightly, stated that they were in fact the ones to be in awe of. In that room, that afternoon, were the most amazing bunch of South West youngsters that I have ever met!