Yesterday saw a very exciting event for the Hypher family – we went to Buckingham Palace for my dad’s OBE investiture!
It was an amazing day – we all got dressed up (my dad was in tails and my mum wore a hat!) and we got to walk through the front gates of the Palace with tourists taking our picture (we think they thought or hoped we were royalty!). We then walked through this big courtyard, and walked up the same red-carpeted steps that Kate and William did after their wedding. Once inside we had to check-in our bags and cameras, and then I used a very posh loo (as captured on camera and posted to Twitter by judo silver medallist Gemma Gibbons).
By this time my dad had been whisked away with the other recipients for a briefing. In the meantime my mum, sister and I walked through a beautiful gallery towards our seats, where a string quartet were playing all sorts of lovely tunes. While we were waiting we read our investiture programmes from cover to cover. This was more interesting than you might think, as it included lots of info and history, plus someone on the knighthood list was called Robert Williams and we got excited that he might be none other than the Robbie Williams.
At 11am on the dot the ceremony began – Prince Charles came in surrounded by lots of helpers, and before long the first people were being called up to receive their honours. We soon discovered that it was not the Robbie Williams after all, but a different Robert Williams (who was wearing cowboy boots!).
It was much like a school prize-giving, except it was Prince Charles giving out the prizes. When it was dad’s turn we were on the edge of our seats, wishing we could hear what Prince Charles was saying to him! They seemed to be having a long conversation, and towards the end dad did a little swooping motion in the air with his hand, which made the three of us burst into laughter (quietly of course, because we were in the presence of royalty). We had no idea what the swooping was about, and must have baffled the entire room too!
I’ll never forget meeting up with dad again at the end of the ceremony. He said to my mum (on the brink of tears): ‘Thank you for getting me here. I wouldn’t be here without you’.
We then waited around for quite a while for the official photography. It was freezing cold in the courtyard, but we did see a real-life celebrity – Armando Iannucci OBE (plus the cowboy-booted Sir Robert Williams again)!
After the photos had been snapped we hopped in a cab. The friendly cabbie asked what we’d been doing at the Palace, and congratulated my dad when we revealed he’d just got an OBE for services to charity. Some people have asked my dad if he wished it had been the Queen conducting the investiture instead of Prince Charles, but I think this way was perfect – an OBE awarded by one loving father to another 🙂