Watching Prince William tour New Zealand and Australia last week reminds me of the my first meeting with a major Royal. In my case it was the Princess Royal, Princess Anne. But I have to confess that I made slightly less of an impact than the young lady in Australia who managed to plant a cheeky kiss on William!
Nearly 20 years ago I organised some charity work that resulted in money being presented to one of Princess Anne's charities. Along with a number of other people who had done some very impressive fund raising things, making my efforts pale into insignificance, I attending a reception to be presented to Princess Anne.
We were coached on how to stand, how to smile, how to bow, what to call her. My head was getting dizzy with all the instructions.
Then came the moment.
Standing in the line. Flunkies floating in front of her, I found myself looking down at my feet, chanting "yes, ma'am, no ma'am, yes ma'am, no ma'am".
Then I looked up and to my surprise there She was, right in front of me.
Princess Anne (posh voice) "And who are you?"
Tom Ilube "Errrrr, ermmmm, errrr, nobody really"
Princess Anne (posh voice, slight pause) "You must be somebody?"
Tom Ilube "Errrrr, mmmm, not...I mean...not really"
Princess Anne (quizzical look, pause, posh voice) "Ok, well, well done and keep it up"
Tom Ilube "hahaha.....yes...quite...thank you...errr Ma'am"
And with that a hole in the floor opened up and I disappeared forever, banished to dark places to wallow alone for eternity in my shame.