On Friday March 22nd I had one of the most wonderful, magical days of my life – I was presented with my MBE by Her Majesty the Queen at Windsor Castle. I was lucky enough to have all 3 of my amazing daughters and my wonderful husband there to share it with me as they have shared my journey.
Lots of people asked me in the week up to the Investiture if I knew which member of the Royal Family would be performing the ceremony. I didn’t know until about 5 minutes before I entered the Castle when one of the members of staff told me – tears immediately sprang to my eye (why did I use mascara!). This was beyond my wildest dreams as I am a Royalist and have been hoping that this would happen. I knew Prince Charles was abroad and that Prince William had presided over one earlier in the week but wasn’t quite sure. Only 2 Investitures a year are held in Windsor Castle so that in itself was a privilege. We were booked into a hotel literally opposite the Castle and it seemed unreal as I woke up on Friday that in a few hours I would be inside with all the magical pomp and ceremony that Great Britain does so well.
We drank champagne in our room that morning with our 3 wonderful daughters Kerensa, Beth and Tara who had travelled to be with us and with 2 sons in laws as well as Isaac and Elodie (and Tara’s bump!). The other 2 grandchildren were at school.
We joined the queue of people awarded honours and their families to enter the Castle at 9.45 and were directed up through the grounds which I had watched during the wedding of Meghan and Prince Harry. To see the history unravelling before us as we entered through this beautiful building and to see the wonderful art was quite spell binding.
I was directed into a room with other nominees to mingle and drink apple juice. All the staff were so supportive and kind, no doubt used to witnessing the nerves. I met several people from Hampshire and listened to their stories but what struck me was how “ordinary” everyone was, all of us still astonished to have been given the awards. Mine was for services to mothers and babies. We were given clear instructions on the ceremony and how to bow or curtsey as well as address Her Majesty, we filed nervously through rooms to the Waterloo Room where we were to receive our medals.
As I stood there, I tried to take it all in, that I had come to be here seemed truly amazing. I just follow my dreams and do what means the world to me which is help mums and babies continue their breastfeeding relationship when mum needs medication short or long term.
I managed my curtsy and approached the Queen who smiled encouragingly at me and asked about my role. She even laughed at my description of what I do and commented that it must be very interesting. She held out her hand to shake mine and I walked backwards to curtsy again and leave. My moment was over but will be etched in my memory for all time. I even got to say “breastfeeding” to the Queen!
We had professional photographs taken and took others outside which I will share with you
Thank you to everyone who supports what I do, those who signpost, mums who find their way here and professionals too who try so hard to provide information. Mary Broadfoot and Phyll Buchanan who made this all possible initially and who encouraged me. BfN for continuing to support me. Last but very much not least my family who listen support, encourage me and take on my passion too, This has been an amazing journey for me, and I feel humble and proud to have been awarded this decoration. I won’t be stopping the work anytime soon. Wendy