In June I wrote about my wife’s aunt, Dorothy Charles, being awarded the MBE (Member in The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list. Today she was invested with the honour by Her Majesty the Queen at Buckingham Palace.
They went down yesterday and stayed at The Rubens Hotel, five minutes walk away fron the Palace, ‘they’ being Dorothy, Sandy my wife and Val Holyman. Four poster beds were the order of the day. I was in receipt of a phone call last night where the giggles were decidedly girly, belying the chronological age of the perpetrators. Imbibation of certain varieties of alcohol were to blame, I assumed, and detail provided later on their return home has not made me change my mind.
The ceremony is held in the Ballroom, and it was an honour for them to share this occasion with the awarding of the George Cross to Lance Corporal Matthew Croucher (BBC report and Video). In the queue prior to the investiture Dorothy was chatting up (or being chatted up by) Henry Sandon (of Antiques Roadshow) who was also receiving an MBE.
There was a walk across the forecourt of Buckingham Palace in from of the Guard, with the gathered tourists outside the railings photographing and videoing. There was the ascent into the ballroom via a lift as Dorothy’s eyesight is failing as falling down the Queen’s staircase would have added incident to the day which was quite overwhelming enough. The investiture is a personal moment between The Queen and the recipient.
In the courtyard, after the formality there’s time to make the day complete with photographs. Apart from being captured by the Yeomen (above) it is one of the times in a life when the place is as important as the people. And not just for the recipient of the honour – those accompanying shared the immense sense of occasion and the history.
Needless to say this day will stay with Dorothy for ever.