I imagine you would think that meeting the Queen was a thrilling and memorable experience for a child. Queen’s, Princesses and fairytales are indeed ideas that thrill the imagination of most children. And so it would have been for me were it not for the fact the meeting the Queen was completely overshadowed by the most embarrassing moment of my life!
I recall that I had been a Girl Guide for a short time. A celebration was to be held at the Auckland Governor Generals residence and one lucky guide would be selected to be presented to the Queen.
As a relatively new guide I didn’t believe there was any prospect of me being chosen. However the sole criteria for selection was that the guide needed to fit into the period Guide Uniform. This guide alone would be the one to go to the celebration, and be presented to the Queen.
I remember the uniform was only tried on by a few girls, presumably the guide leader cast her eye over the group and visually selected the most likely to fit the uniform. The scratchy woollen fabric was not comfortable, and so it was with mixed emotions that I was selected. The uniform and I were a perfect match.
I have no recollection of how I arrived at the Governor General’s residence in Mount Eden, simply that I was there, with hundreds of other people.
Therein lay the foundation for what would become the most embarrassing day of my life.
There appeared to be inadequate arrangements for guests to go to the toilet and so the brownies and guides were encouraged to make use of the expansive gardens. I was not a child accustomed to “making do” in such a way and held on as long as possible before giving into my desperate need to empty my bladder behind a tree. The garden’s were vast, and there was a large number of mature trees to choose from. Having selected a place I thought was far from the crowd that was in the gardens, I quickly took care of business. It was not until I was scrambling out of the garden that I turned behind me to see that there were dozens of press and photographers on the other side of the fence clambering for a view of the gathering below. Although it seemed clear that no one had taken any notice of me, my embarrassment was burned into my memory!
When the time came, the Girl Guides paraded behind the flag to be presented to Her Majesty. I lined up with the other girls in historical uniforms and when my turn came I curtseyed exactly as I had practiced. I could hardly believe that it was happening, and in a blink of a moment it was over.
My memories of that day are of my embarrassment and amazement of being presented to the Queen.