Friday, March 31, 2006

Amazement and Pride

I don’t know about you but when a police officer waves at me to pull in, I panic.

When a team of anti-terrorist officers start to search the car that you are travelling in, I feel most uneasy.

When this is taking place outside one of the most iconic and nominally powerful buildings in Britain, I feel guilty even though I’ve no cause to be.

Then when they finally separate the crowds of tourists to allow you to drive across the forecourt of Buckingham Palace, you’re amazed and honoured to be experiencing this.

On Wednesday 29th March 2006, Daddy received his OBE at Buckingham Palace. It was truly amazing. As we drove into the palace, you suddenly realise the scale of what is happening.

We arrived at a little after ten in the morning and walked up the stairs into the palace. As Daddy pointed out, when you normally entire a stately home, you’re not allowed to sit on the furniture. Here you had to.

As Daddy was briefed, we were greeted by a charming former RAF man who guided us slowly to our seats. He complemented Mother on her ‘handsome escorts’ and made us very comfortable in what could be an intimidating location.

We sat in the Palace Ballroom with a very fine Household band playing and I met the family of the woman I interviewed who was receiving an MBE for her work with the Guides; one of those random encounters. Everyone was smiling.

Just after eleven, SHE entered (smaller than you expect and wearing a similar green suit to Mother). Then ninety-eight people went before her; some famous (Tom Jones, the Beverley sisters), some politicians (Lord Ashdown) and some truly amazing stories (my lady from the Guides, the fire and police chiefs). Amongst all of these was my Father. He had done something so good that he warranted this.

When it came to his turn, my Father looked good, standing straighter than he as ever done before. Though christened Juris, my Mother has always called him George (the translation) as he suggested when they first met at University. During their marriage, Mother married ‘George Juris’ at the vicar’s error. Whilst most people only had one name read out, Daddy managed to be announced as ‘Juris George’ which meant such a huge amount to my Mother and to us all. It made the ceremony so personal and ‘ours’. When we left afterwards you could not help but smile.

Tea and champagne at the club, Sandwiches at the flat, a walk to Tate Modern and then a fantastic meal at the club. We celebrated (and drank) the afternoon away.

It is very hard to describe why it was so special and why it was so enjoyable but it made you feel part of something great that few people would see.

The ceremony, the grandeur were great but the personal, family-feel to the day will make it one to remember.

But it still amazes me that it’s now Daddy OBE, officially.

And I’m astonished that the Police let me anywhere near it all!



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