Friday, 20 December 2013

Driver - take me to Buckingham Palace!

Number One Husband and I are known for being early for everything.  So in true Goldberg fashion we tipped up at Buckingham Palace today half an hour before we needed to be.  However, the upside was that said husband, Number One Daughter and Number One Son were able to get seats in the second row to see me be presented with my OBE by Prince Charles. 

I also fulfilled one of my ideal moments – get in a cab and say “Take me to Buckingham Palace!”. 

Once we were admitted to the Palace I went one way and they another. The Palace is all decorated for Christmas – the State Rooms are stunning enough but they were positively glittering.  (The large Christmas tree is decorated with little crowns......) I had a wonderful time talking to the wide range of people receiving awards – looking down the list there is such a wide cross section of people who have made a huge contribution to their local communities or society in general; service personnel and also the emergency services. Each story was more impressive than the one before and I felt quite humble and very, very proud to be in such company.

We were given our instructions – as the person in front receives their award, step forward and stand next to the chap in uniform; when you hear your name called – walk forward, turn, curtsey (bow) walk forward, HRH pins on your medal, talks to you, when he puts out his hand, shake it, walk backwards, curtsey again and walk out the opposite door. Not surprisingly the staff are rather experienced at this and calmed nerves and made sure that everyone relaxed and enjoyed the day.

So what did the Prince say? He asked me if I had been involved with the charity for a long time and I, having been well trained to get my key message in, told him that during my almost 20 years at Breast Cancer Campaign we had contributed £40 million to breast cancer research in the UK, it had been a team effort and I had been privileged to work with amazing colleagues.

And then it was all over and I went through and sat behind the guests for the rest of the ceremony. We then had a wonderful lunch with the rest of our London family at a hotel nearby – if you watched Kate Middleton leave on her wedding day to become the Duchess of Cambridge you will know the one. There were other ladies in hats and men in uniform so it is obviously a popular choice.

Nothing can convey how special it all felt and how charming everyone was.  And then there were the paintings, a Vermeer here a Rembrandt there and a couple of Canaletto’s, etc – these rooms are open to everyone in the summer but today they belonged to 98 people, their families and friends for a special day.

Big thanks to all my colleagues at Breast Cancer Campaign for making this possible – I am the lucky one but I was privileged to work with some inspiring people – you know who you are!

Oh yes, there was someone called Adele picking up an MBE – she sings a bit I believe. Seriously though, I did go and shake her hand. I told her that my grandchildren would be more impressed that I had done that than with my OBE!

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