My Royal Visit, July 1997

Katie Sharman recalls her visit to Buckingham Palace to receive her Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award

The following article appeared in the September 1997 edition of the Orwell Bulletin.

When I first began working towards my Duke of Edinburgh's award, I had no idea of the amount of work and determination required to complete successfully the course to Gold level.

Bronze, Silver then Gold Award

Following three years of this and plenty of fun I gained my Bronze and Silver Awards. A further two years of service in the community, undertaking a new physical recreation, two expeditions in Snowdonia and a recreational project for North Herts District Council involving disabled people, rewarded me with an invitation to Buckingham Palace.

presentation at a Garden Party at Buckingham Palace

It was on Tuesday 29 July 1997 and I was on my way, accompanied by my mum and dad, to a presentation and Garden Party at Buckingham Palace. This was to receive a certificate for the attainment of my Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award.

The weather could not have been more perfect as we set off in brilliant sunshine, which lasted all day. On our entry, by car, into Constitution Hill, we were directed by police to reserved parking areas under massive plane trees. Our tickets admitted us through the Grand Entrance into the main courtyard, through the rear of the building and into the Palace grounds.

The people invited to receive their awards were organised into groups of twenty where the presentation was made by a media personality or celebrity for each group.

Photo:Katie's Gold Award badges

Katie's Gold Award badges

Photo:Katie's Gold Award certificate

Katie's Gold Award certificate

My award was presented by Trevor Brooking, the ex-England and West Ham footballer and now commentator. Other groups had people such as Gaby Roslin, Frank Bruno, Ronnie Corbett, Bruce Forsyth and Terry Waite.

Their Royal Highnesses, Prince Philip and Prince Edward

After the presentation, the Garden Party began with a parade of Beefeaters, the tune of the National Anthem and entrance of Their Royal Highnesses Prince Philip and Prince Edward. This was then our cue to mingle with the various celebrities and try out the food and drink provided for us.

variety and quality of the food was all that could be expected

The variety and quality of the food was all that could be expected for such an occasion and was definitely a hit with us. The rest of the afternoon was then spent freely wandering around the Palace Gardens admiring the beautiful flower beds and lake, and occasionally bumping into people only previously seen by me on television. Parts of the house were also available for us to look around, so we made the most of it. We were allowed to rest for a while on a sofa in the Entrance Hall and admire the works of art.

unfortunately the day had to end....

This FANTASTIC day unfortunately had to end and Their Royal Highnesses were escorted back into the palace. We reluctantly made our exit back through the Grand Entrance and joined the traffic in London to make our way home, at the end of what now seems like a dream.

The Award Scheme

The Duke of Edinburgh's Award scheme is designed to test the initiative and dedication of the country's youth. It takes a great deal of hard work to attain Gold standard but the sense of achievement and pride far outweighs the agony of getting there. I was particularly fortunate with my efforts being rewarded with a Royal occasion which made me proud to be BRITISH.


Katie Sharman

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