Disabled in the Palace…

Buckingham Palace, that is…

buckhouse

I wouldn’t aim to post so soon after my last Blog, but watching the Queen’s carriage cross the forecourt of Buck House this morning on her way to the House of Lords for the State Opening of Parliament, I couldn’t help but think: I was right there wheeling over the gravel just last week.

I was there to see my father receive a MBE award for his work campaigning for pensioners affected by the Equitable Life financial scandal.

Right now I can’t perceive a reason why I might ever return, so this was a once in a lifetime opportunity. And how wheelchair friendly would the Palace be?

I’ve politely declined the offer of a Royal wheelchair,  figuring my own personal Royal seat would be more comfortable.

As my wheelchair makes tracks across the pink gravel my Royal assistant tells me one of the groundsmen has spent time raking it neatly that morning (and it was only 9.30am)

Maybe you could tarmac it? I comment.

Maybe, but I don’t think the boss would be too pleased, he replies.

There’s a small step up to the doorway and there’s a slight step but a row of ramps ready and waiting. I’m not the only wheelchair user here today.

There are 90 recipients this morning and each awardee can bring three guests.

Once inside I’m diverted away from the Grand Staircase. I’m going up the servant’s stairwell fitted with a wheelchair lift. I’m sceptical. It reminds me of the contraption at the consulting rooms of my London Neurologist in Queens Square (also at the backdoor because the building has listed building status).

Now here is where disability gets you a rare bonus. Front row seats to the Investiture. So close I can hear the conversation the Duke of Cambridge, Prince William is having with each honoree.

I’m lined up in front of the Equerry where the next recipient stands while William is talking to the current one.

It means I’ll be in every shot of the video being made of the event. Sorry folks. 🙂

William’s chatty today and spends several minutes talking to everyone. Cyclist Chris Froome is the ‘celebrity’ in today’s list with an OBE for services to cycling, so some two and a half hours after being wheeled into the State Room I’m in urgent need of the Royal ‘throne’. Non-Brits please look up the slang.

We weren’t allowed to take pictures inside, so here’s a shot after the ceremony was over, with my Dad and sister. A magical day.

outside

 

I’m happy to say the facilities were exemplary. And if her Majesty can get it right there’re no excuses elsewhere people. I now know the meaning of the Royal We… 😉

And on the way out…

gates1

 

 

 

One thought on “Disabled in the Palace…

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