The last couple of months rank up there as some of the most memorable months of my life.

It started with an invite to the Royal Garden Party at Buckingham Palace on May 18 as a “thank you” from Her Majesty, The Queen for our charity being awarded The Queen’s Voluntary Service Award in 2020.

Our charity’s Senior Instructor, John Divers, alongside our Compliance Manager Anna Orzol, accompanied me on the train down to London and what better way to get in the mood than a speedboat ride along the Thames as soon as we arrived.

It turns out that the boat was used in the filming of the James Bond film “Spectre”, so cue the James Bond theme music blaring out as we roared past Westminster, the London Eye and the MI6 building.

Although exhilarating and fun, speed boating down the Thames en-route to see The Queen accompanied by 007 music was just such a surreal experience.

Unfortunately, as my arthritic knees do not allow me to walk very far or stand very long, I had to take my mobility scooter with me but this ended up going in my favour…despite my embarrassment.

As we mingled in the gardens behind the Palace, I asked John to remind me how we address each of the Royals – but he assured me that with 8,500 people present, it was extremely unlikely that we would be introduced to any of them.

Just then, one of the guards came up to me and explained that where we were would be the line for the Royal party to walk past. Soon there were throngs of people behind us, all waiting for a chance to see the Royals. But then another guard came to me and explained that, as I was in a mobility scooter, I had to go to another line at the end of the afternoon where the Royals “may stop to say hello”.

Although the Queen was not in attendance, we had a great day with military bands playing, tea, cucumber sandwiches and cakes.

About a hundred of us in scooters and wheelchairs were lined up for the final walk-past from the Royals, so I figured we would have to be extremely lucky to meet any of them as they only stopped to speak to a few. But as fate would have it, the Queen’s cousin, Princess Alexandra, appeared and made a bee-line for me, shook my hand and looking at my kilt asked “What is your tartan?” I explained it was the ‘Help for Heroes’ tartan, in honour of our military heroes and my military background. The Princess replied “It’s lovely colours”.

I’ve really got to thank Iain Sutherland of Clyde Kilts for kitting me out in a cracking blue tweed jacket and waistcoat which complemented the red, white and blue of my military kilt perfectly.

Next came Prince Edward who gave me a little nod and a “thank you for coming” as he walked past but his wife, Sophie, the Countess of Wessex came straight to me and smiling radiantly she commented “Very nice to see you. I’m not sure wearing a kilt is best on a scooter” before leaning closer to me to whisper “You’ve got to be careful of the wind, you know.” I laughed and replied “It’s not the wind I’m worried about – I’m more worried about all the people across from us who can see right up my kilt.”

The Countess let out a hoot of laughter and shook her head as she made her way down the line…I’ve a feeling I may have been a topic of conversation for the Wessex’s over dinner that evening.

Just when we thought the day could not have gotten any better, Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge came down the line. Kate stopped and shook my hand before asking “I hope you’ve had a lovely time”. I replied that indeed I had and she smiled, nodded and said “I hope you have been well looked after.” What a fantastic end to a wonderfully memorable afternoon and how extremely lucky I was to speak with three out of the four Royals at the Garden Party that day.

Next time, I will tell you about some more Royals I had the pleasure of meeting at the lunch. If you would like to know more about our work,e visit