A letter dropped on my doorstop. A big thick one with gold inscribed writing. It was May 2009 and I was seventeen. I ripped the envelope open not thinking twice about what could be inside.
Out fell an A5 cardboard invitation from Buckingham Palace.
I quickly read through the invitation and noted the key words; Buckingham. Palace. Garden. Party. Prince Charles. WAIT WHAT? “Prince Charles requests the company of Miss Florence Boniface”. I scream and start dialling my grandma… “What you gonna wear duck?” Grandma screams back.
SHIT WHAT AM I GONNA WEAR??? TO BUCKINGHAM PALACE???!!
So yeah, I was “cordially invited” to a garden party at Buckingham palace on July 16th by Prince Charles as a representative of The London Borough of Croydon (What a shame) as part of the girl guiding association. Decent. I knew I better be a good flipping representative for Croydon after all the majority of people they could have picked probably would have ended up nicking half the palace buffet for the ride home.
Two weeks later I was contacted by one of the head of organisations to tell me that I was to be provided with a shirt on the day to wear.
OH MY GOD YOU HAVE TO BE JOKING. THE ONE TIME I GET INVITED TO BUCKINGHAM PALACE IN MY LIFE (Minus the time I pick up my OBE of course) AND I HAVE TO WEAR A POLO SHIRT???
I cannot tell you how disappointed I was the day I turned up at the station to meet the other representatives and I was handed a bright pink polo shirt. Great. I was at the time going through a stage of wearing a shade of light pink lipstick too which looked almost white and I had equally as horrendously never seen an eyebrow pencil before. God knows why but at the time I was a chav and I thought it looked great. So I went to meet Prince Charles wearing a pink polo shirt, no eyebrows and white lipstick. I’m surprised he didn’t get confused between me and the garden party clowns to be honest.
We arrived at The Palace and had to be literally stripped searched, they even took our mobiles off us. Needless to say I kept my (beautiful Samsung Tocco) and took a variety of sneaky pics (not a surprise).
We walked through a variety of rooms to get to the gardens, pretty much everything was covered in plastic and it wasn’t anywhere near as nice as I had expected. Pretty run down to be honest.
The large wooden doors opened and we were standing in the courtyard and pushed into groups then escorted to the gardens. The gardens had two massive tents full of dreams (whoops I meant royal finger food), all the cakes had mini gold crowns on top and the cucumber sandwiches had the crusts cut off. The only drinks served were tea served in finest china and lemonade in tall flutes. I remember hovering around the tent filling my boots when I was supposed to be engaging in activities on the lawn… not a surprise.
Milling on the lawn and next minute I am blinded by a blonde bouncy individual. It was Boris Johnson. My team leader pushes me towards the front into the games area. Boris being his usual fun-loving (idiotic) self, starts introducing himself and asking which games he can join in with. For god sake, why couldn’t I be invited to a sophisticated garden party and not this palaver?
Next minute I know I’m holding one of those giant parachutes with only a couple of others between me and Boris. We start throwing the parachute up in the air and a few people take it in turns to run underneath before it falls to the ground.
In typical fashion, Boris takes his turn, hair flapping in the wind to run underneath, but not quite fast enough.
BORIS JOHNSON AND THAT HEAD OF HAIR IS TRAPPED UNDERNEATH THE PARACHUTE I AM HOLDING. I am roaring with laughter. He was rolling about on the grass shouting all sorts with parachute wrapped round him. Should we even bother getting him out???
Just before 4 o’clock we were all asked to go and stand by the steps of the Palace as the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall were about to arrive. As they came out, the band started to play the National Anthem. Charles and Camilla headed towards us and we were all asked to clap as they walked. All I could think about was that video when Charles is calling that BBC reporter “bloody awful” and wondering if he was actually enjoying this occasion in the slightest.
Charles made his way around to us, he made small talk about enjoying the day and shook my hand. He was wearing a girl guiding badge and I mumbled something about “Nice badge Sir”.
NICE BADGE SIR.
Really??! What the hell was remotely nice about his badge? What was I even thinking? I give up sometimes I really do. He thanked me, laughed (chuckled more like) and moved on. A photographer briefly and unfortunately caught the top of my head on camera and the photo later appeared on The Telegraph online I think.
So that was the time I held a parachute over Boris Johnson’s head at Buckingham Palace.
Enjoy the hilarious photos inserted below. These are the only ones I can find… Some lucky bastard has more… The top of my plum barnet is just peeking through behind.
Fabulous as always.