Botād Well, the day came and most of the morning I felt really emotional! We headed to Windsor Castle at 9.40 because we had to be there between 9.45 and 10.15 and we were staying 2 minutes away at the Macdonald Hotel so despite the freezing cold weather I braved it with my dress, coat and a shawl! I just didn’t want to have a big coat on for the pics outside!…I know… vain!

Ponte Nova However, I was warned that you have to walk quite a way on cobbled stones and they are difficult to walk over in stilettos so I wore flat boots there and put them in the cloakroom & changed into my stilettos!…vain!

As we put our stuff in the cloakroom we were told it was Prince William which was brilliant. I honestly wouldn’t have minded Charles but feel that when I am dead and gone and William is King, Georgia will be able to tell Mali that Nonna got a medal from the King!… which I think will be cool!

Everyone we met who worked at the Castle said well done on your award and every time they said it.. I blubbed!! It wasn’t boding well to get the medal! The Lord in Waiting, The Lord de Mauley, Comptroller, Equerry in Waiting and Secretary from the Central Chancery of the Orders of Knighthood were all so lovely and wanted to put us all at ease.

We moved through the state rooms to one where we were told how to curtsy, or we could nod our head, when to move, where our partners should go and what we should call William. Of course it all goes out of the window when you get there. I was thinking….’when do I curtsy again’ before or after the two steps forward?!

William was lovely and as he pinned my medal on asked me about the Emily Kent Trust. I didn’t realise he would pin it on, I thought he would give it to me in the box! I told him about how we started it after Emily died and about the wards at Bristol and Gloucester children’s hospitals. I said that we had met Charles and Camilla at a dinner at Highgrove when Charles was the Patron of the Wallace and Gromit Charity and how after we folded the Charity I raised money for Breast Cancer and Clic Sargent.

He asked if I was still raising money for the Emily Kent unit and I explained about Pied Piper and Cheltenham Open Door and he laughed when I said Bern despaired how busy I was because I was supposed to be retired! he said ‘you seem to do a lot in Gloucestershire! I said I might branch out of the County in the future and then he said it was lovely to meet me!

I did my two steps back, curtsied again and trotted off to have a few more tears! With my medal boxed up we headed to the professional photographers and then outside to lots of staff that were happy to take pics of Bern and I together in the grounds but it was f f f freezing!

We celebrated with about 4 courses at The Ivy in Marlow where we were totally spoilt by all the staff, thanks to Steven Wilmer the Area Manager. The lady that boxed up my medal said wear it to The Ivy and wear it on your pyjamas tonight!!!!

It was a really personal ceremony with just me and one other person waiting in the room with Bern over by the fireplace where he had an amazing view. Of course there were beefeaters and staff in uniforms but all you focus on is William. There was a string quartet in the corner and the room was incredibly decadent. It didn’t feel quick at all. It felt very special

Since I was told I had been given this award, it has made me feel that I have to prove that I am worthy of it, which probably is a bit crazy but it is so unreal that maybe it just spurs me on to be brave and do more.

An incredible day……

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