"It was twenty years ago when I went to see Queen Elizabeth at Buckingham Palace to get my MBE. Upon being presented to the Queen, she usually asks the recipient some meaningless question to keep the line moving along smoothly.
While previously, I would not have thought that I'd ever be stuck for words, being in the presence of majesty seems to have a peculiar effect upon a lowly subject of Irish extraction.
As I moved forward at the appointed signal for the Queen to pin on my medal, Her Majesty asked, 'I see that you're an author, Mr Forde; and what kind of books do you write?'
I thought for one moment before replying, as I neither wanted to appear arrogant in self-opinion or overawed by the occasion. Looking straight up towards the Queen (Being a mere five feet nothing she stands on a step approximately two foot higher than the person she looks down upon), I smiled gently and simply said, 'Good ones, Mam. Good ones'
The Beefeater guard who stood behind the Queen armed with his ceremonial spear at the ready (presumably to prevent any assassination attempt upon Her Royal Personage), moved forward a pace. For one moment he seemed to wait in readiness for the royal command, 'We are not amused. Off with his head' to proceed from the monarch's mouth.
I was greatly relieved however, to see the queen's mouth gradually soften and opened wider as she smiled broadly at me. As the queen smiled, the Beefeater lowered his spear and moved back one pace. Please note that it wasn't a palpable laugh that came from the Queen's mouth, as monarchs always avoid laughing in a peasant's face in public, but a broad smile it most definitely was..... and I've got the picture and video to prove it! William Forde: July 21st, 2015.