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RIP Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.

I am so sorry to hear of His Royal Highness, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh has passed away yesterday at the age of 99. I know he has been poorly for a while but I was not expecting that. I burst into tears which I don’t usually do for people I have never met (Only for Rik Mayall and David Bowie) but it’s been a difficult year for everyone and with so much death, this is another blow. Some may say 99 is a good age and yes this is true but this week my own grandad turned 99 so when I spoke to him about it, he always says he is going to live to 121 so he isn’t worried.

I feel for the Queen and would like to offer my condolences to her and all her family at this sad time. I love the royal family. I have had a few royal encounters over the years. In the early 1980’s I was still at school but doing my work experience in Nat West bank which was next door to the Civic Offices in Milton Keynes. Prince Charles turns up to open it so we are all allowed to go and see him. It was a very small crowd and I remember being quite shocked there weren’t more people. That was my first brush with royalty but it was many more years before I got to see The Queen.

I had already seen the Queen in passing at Ascot but not sure if that counts. But On the 29th November 2007, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II accompanied by HRH Prince Phillip officially opened Stadium:mk. This marked one of the year's major events held to celebrate Milton Keynes 40th Anniversary and was attended by a 20,000 strong crowd. I was in that crowd. Actually, we were supposed to be one of the chosen charities that got to meet her but there was an administration mistake and the person organising it left us off the list. My two colleagues and myself were done up to the nines to meet her and of course it didn’t happen. However, we decided to sneak out a bit early rather than watch all the performances…so at the same time we were leaving – so was the Queen! She smiled and waved at us. It was only the three of us so we know it was us. And that is as near as I have ever got to the Queen and Prince Phillip.

However, when working for a different charity in 2014, part of my job was looking after volunteers all over the country and who should be interested in meeting us all but HRH Princess Royal. I was in charge of quite a large table and she came over and we chatted. She asked me why I had been standing (I was trying to hear each person on the table). It was not small talk. We talked about young carers and the difficulty placed on them when the parent has a disability. I was impressed at how knowledgeable and intelligent she was. I was so pleased to meet her and have her sit next to me.

With all my charity work over the years and community work for the arts locally, I had always hoped for an MBE or OBE from the Queen. I think if I am recognised and honoured enough to receive one, it sadly may not be from the Queen.

I have watched every episode of The Crown, and yes, I know it’s a drama and not real but it is based on real events so I do feel I have learnt a lot more about the royals that happened before I was old enough to know. For example, I did not know about the Fog in London or some of the politics. I think The Queen does a very difficult job. I am not sure I could be so diplomatic and not voice my opinions. She is an icon and I have huge respect for her. I support the royals and hope the monarchy continues to go from strength to strength. I know there are people out there who don’t like the idea of a monarchy and would prefer a republic. I don’t understand this as we vote our Prime Minister in and still moan about the government…so how would a republic be any better? The royals do amazing work and it must be really hard to live always in the public eye and never be able to live your own life. I would not choose to be royal…although some of my friends do call me a princess (every since that close encounter with the Queen).

Long live The Queen.


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