A writer looks back on his brief meeting with Queen Elizabeth II | Other columnists
As I watched the media coverage unfold on the passing of Queen Elizabeth II last week, I reflected on my childhood in the UK and my brief interaction with the Queen in the mid-1980s.
I had received the Queen’s Scout Award – Britain’s highest honor in Scouting – and as such I was invited, along with other Queen’s Scout recipients, to attend the annual ceremony and parade at Windsor Castle , where the monarch would review the gathering of the Queen’s Scouts.
Prior to the actual event, participating scouts attended a training session at a UK military base, where we were introduced to the marching techniques and protocol that would be expected of us whilst in close proximity to the monarch.
Our Scout uniforms had to be immaculate, with patches sewn down to the smallest detail.
As part of the procedure at Windsor, the scouts would form into rows around the perimeter of the castle quadrangle and the Queen would review the assembled gathering.
The female scouts learned how to perform a low-key curtsy and the male scouts learned how to give a slight nod when the queen passed by, and optionally pause briefly to chat.
The scouts were each allowed to take one guest with them inside the quadrangle, where the guests could observe from a short distance. I took my dad, who was a big fan of the Queen, because I knew he would appreciate what we were going through.
As we walked in our quad formation, I found myself in the front row of the scouts, who were several deep. It occurred to me that I would get a front row view of the Queen and maybe even the opportunity to exchange pleasantries with her.
Eyes turned forward, I waited for the queen to reach my place in the line-up. As she did, she stopped and smiled, and I remembered to curtsey. She then chatted briefly, asking me where I was from and about my Scouting activities. I concluded my comments to the Queen by addressing her as “Madam”.
I have a picture my dad took above the crowd that shows the queen reviewing the scouts, and I’ve rocked my house trying to find her. I have come to the conclusion that he is probably still in England with my parents. They too searched for him, but could not locate him. I’m sure there will come a day when we don’t expect it!
For now, I’ll have to content myself with the memories of my brief but memorable encounter with the Queen.
Kathryn Bassett is a reporter for The Star newspaper in Auburn.