So some of you will know that I am an Ambassador for the Young Women’s Trust which supports and represents women aged 16-30 struggling to live on low or no pay in England and Wales and who are at risk of being trapped in poverty. (And if you are one of them, you could try their Work It Out service, which is free coaching to help you become more confident and ready for work by calling 0808 808 8099).
The Trust were offered 2 tickets for the Patron’s Lunch on the Mall to help celebrate the Queen’s 90th Birthday and I was lucky enough to be selected to go along. I was able to take a buddy so I chose someone who I thought could be relied upon not to lose their head when in close proximity to Royalty (ahem…). Nikki and I got our glad rags on and met just after 10 close to the Mall at the start of what appeared, initially, to be a light rain shower. We gratefully accepted the very stylish The Patron’s Lunch ponchos and formed an orderly queue. Which we were still in some hour and a half later, with the rain not having let up at all. It was a slightly surreal experience to stand in the rain for that long (with no alcohol which was really just a lack of basic planning on our part) but as neither of us had ever done a festival in our Uni youth, we figured this was pretty much our Glastonbury and got on with it.
It was actually well worth the wait when we were presented with a goodie bag from Boots (which contained some sunscreen that we were convinced we would never use) and a pretty cup and saucer set from PG Tips. Some time later, we were through security and picking up our very stylish M&S hampers. Mine was vegan as I don’t like mayo and that was clearly the easiest way to give me sandwiches that didn’t contain the devil’s food. Nikki had a normal one so between us we had an impressive feast that contained hummus, olives, falafels, salmon, a variety of sandwiches (both devil’s food free and with the icky tasting stuff), chicken roulade salad, tomato and beetroot salad, jellies, cherries, cakes, apple juice, water and Pimms. Which was a bit of a shame that we hadn’t checked first before buying a massive jug of that beverage. Never mind, we still managed to finish the lot with no great difficulty.
As we ate (mainly still in poncho stylish-ness), the parade went past, full of people that work in, with or for some of the 600 charities to which the Queen is Patron. This was followed by the Royal parade where the younger Royals got out of their cars and talked to the attendees as they made their way down the Mall. Nikki actually managed a chat with Prince William (nearly 2 chats, but I did promise that I wouldn’t tell everyone exactly what happened. Let’s just say, he’s pretty observant and leave it at that. That’s all.) Our side of the Mall were fairly disappointed that Prince Harry stuck to the other side, despite a very vocal lady asking him to come over. (And no, that wasn’t actually Nikki. Well, she wasn’t as vocal as this other lady anyway). We managed to talk to a Telegraph reporter who seemed completely disinterested in the work of the Young Women’s Trust and a bit more interested in Nikki’s age which seemed a kind of a shame to me, but then I’m not really a Telegraph reader so maybe that’s just normal?
At this stage of the proceedings, we decided that a cup of tea would be in good order (we still had half a jug of Pimms to go, but we were pacing ourselves). This was the moment that the Queen decided she’d come along and Nikki made the command decision that we would leave our brews behind to go and get some photos. I’m still a bit conflicted about that one. What’s the more British thing to do? Luckily, Her Maj obviously sensed my anguish and arrived sharpish so we could get back to the tea stall where the lovely ladies had saved our tea for us. About then, the sun came out so we were able to enjoy the last bit of the Parade in hot sunshine (thank you Boots for the suncream – it was actually a good idea).
Well done to everyone that took part. We had a fabulous day. It was very well organised (although, actually, the guys that were in the queue behind us when they’d run out of ponchos – with no umbrellas allowed – might disagree on that one point), we had some lovely food and goodies and, hopefully, I’ve spread the word of the Young Women’s Trust a little more.