An Invitation to Buckingham Palace
Following on from my Duke of Edinburgh speech at St James' Palace, I had received very positive feedback and was invited back to be a guest presenter at Buckingham Palace for not only one but two presentations!
I felt absolutely honoured to be given the opportunity to immediately accepted and started to feel very excited for the big day. A few weeks later, the day had arrived and i travelled up to London to stay at a hotel the night before. I prepared myself with a fantastic Lush spa experience that I had been given for my birthday, a few months prior.
In the morning, I got myself suited and booted. I never like to prepare my speeches too much as I find that they can appear robotic and too practiced. Instead, I like to go with the flow but just ensure that I know my main speaking points. I jumped on the tube and arrived at the Palace bright and early for the first session. Armed with my coloured card, telling me the correct entrance, I was checked into the Palace with my partner.
Walking into the gates of Buckingham Palace, I could see the soldiers changing guard and it really made me appreciate how special the opportunity was, especially given the Queen was home (but not to be seen). Rumours have it that the Queen actually caught someone on that very day urinating in the gardens out of her bedroom window!
We were allocated an escort, who showed us around the grounds and ensured that we were in place on time. She escorted us into the Palace, for tea while the CEO of the organisation, Peter Westgarth, showed his appreciation to the speakers. After a group photograph, we were whisked away to an area full of young people, eagerly awaiting their certificates and speech.
Unlike St James' palace, the awards were outside and the sun was certainly beaming for the occasion! The event was much larger than previous, with 3,000 young people receiving their award. The young people were split into three lines, of which one royal family would come through and speak. There were two Army bands there, from the Rifles and Parachute regiment, who played music throughout the event.
In the morning, I was presented to Princess Beatrice whereas I had the honour of Princess Eugenie in the afternoon. In both sessions, it was fantastic to see the young people achieve their award and be presented with their certificates after working hard for many years. It was a privilege to be part of the process and help to inspire them as they continue their journey.
Within my speeches, I spoke about my journey with the Duke of Edinburgh and how perseverance and hard work has kept me going through my various tough times. I had such a fantastic day and I cannot wait to continue to be part of the process of inspiring our future leaders.