The Diamond Jubilee is coming up, preparations for this big celebration is underway. This is a special milestone in the reign of Queen Elizabeth II for sitting on the throne of England for 60 years. Many of us are curious, what it is like to meet the Queen and if there is any chance to meet her at all given with her busy schedule as she travels all over the UK to meet her subjects? A lot of people visit the Buckingham Palace or Windsor Castle hoping to try their luck and have a glimpse of her.
Luckily for this Westminster MBA student, my opportunity came last November 10, 2011. It was the 80th Anniversary of my international student housing, Goodenough College. The Queen is the Patron of this institution. She has been a regular visitor in each of its milestone since 1953 when she was still a Princess when she first became its Patron. Goodenough College is located in Bloomsbury, close to the British Museum which the Queen was visiting on the same day.
Prior to the big day, we were informed by the Director of the College, Major-General Andrew Ritchie CBE, of the upcoming royal visit so that we can all prepare ourselves and put our best foot forward for the visit of the Queen. It also happens to be that our Director was formerly the Commandant of the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst when Prince William and Prince Harry were there and has met the Queen several times. We were told of the proper etiquette and protocol on how we should behave when we meet the monarch. There are no obligatory codes of behaviour, just politeness. However, many people wish to observe the traditional forms of greeting. For men this is a neck bow (from the head only) whilst women do a small curtsy. Other people prefer simply to shake hands in the usual way. When presented to the Queen, the correct formal address is ‘Your Majesty’ and subsequently ‘Ma’am’ (as in ‘jam’).
I was able to videotape her and meet her briefly as her entourage was entering and leaving the college since I was part of the Quadrangle group. There were photographers but I used my Ipad to capture a video since I was really near her. She was a gracious and energetic lady for her age, always smiling and greeting people. She is really charming and charismatic like our grandmothers. Every one was following her every move but she was a gracious guest despite the number of people flocking her even when others have broken etiquette and protocol.
All I can say is that this is THE Ultimate British Cultural experience one MBA student can get. Thank you ‘GREAT BRITAIN.’
is a Chevening Scholar from the Philippines pursuing his Masters in Business Administration (MBA) at the University of Westminster. He currently resides at Goodenough College located in Bloomsbury, London.
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